Thursday, July 30, 2015

Team Free Prelims & Solo Finals!

Days 4 and 5 of Worlds seem like the shortest and yet longest days of the competition so far. 

Free team had really good energy. We were number 5 in the draw (which is my personal fav number) and we were really focused on bringing that American Spirit to the stage. Our lifts were probably the best we've had in a swim through yet, so we were pretty proud of that. 

We aren't going into finals with the placement we wanted, but sometimes you can't focus on the placement. You can't control the score, but you can control how YOU feel about your swim. Once we all decide that's what matters we'll all be better athletes for it. Can't wait to see what is in store for us for Finals on Friday! 

Day 5 was only the Free Solo Finals, and being at 5:30pm instead of 9am meant I got to sleep in, eat a little later, and be SUPER pumped for my finals swim. I'm only ever nervous before solo swims, but this time I was more excited than anything. This routine has a personal meaning related to it, and I was determined to make the world see it as well. 

I went into finals in 8th, and I came out of finals in 8th! My coaches all said it was the best swim I've had, but it was more than that. I knew that it was my best swim. That exhausted but elated feeling after a competition swim is what we as athletes strive for. That feeling at the end of a routine where you KNOW you couldn't give anymore, you couldn't try any harder, and everything went exactly how it was supposed to go. 

It's not just me. It's everyone. Lori Eaton, my coach from Lindenwood (pictured above on the left) is here coaching a duet for Aruba, and she's the one who has brought my love of the sport back. I'm so glad she was here to see my finals performance! Tammy McGregor, my coach for this Summer (also seen above, on the right) brought the hammer down on some technical aspects, plus she even added more sass and difficulty to what I thought was an already exhausting routine. I'm so glad to have such enthusiasm from the deck. Not to mention the expertise and personal experiences each of these women have had and have been able to help me with along the way. 

Because of the support from Friends, Family, Coaches and Teammates, I had the best swim I could've asked for. And then some!!! 

Now it's time to keep the momentum I have going into free team finals on Friday. Wish us luck! GO USA!!! 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Worlds!!! Day 1, 2 and 3

What a rush. This whole summer has gone so quickly I feel like I haven't been able to stop and update anyone!!! So Worlds is in Full blown competition mode and we're gonna start from the beginning. Day one.

Tech solo was the first thing out of the gate, and I can honestly say it wasn't my best swim. The pool felt larger than normal, there were too many people, and a lot of pressure that I put on myself. I had a good swim, but it wasn't ME. It wasn't the kind of swim that made me proud. Luckily that was just prelims, and ranked 10th I was able to swim it again in finals. This proved to be a HUGE help, considering my score went up 2 points, and I was much more comfortable. I could perform. I could be me. Plus, my finals swim brought me up to 9th place!!! Every little bit helps. 

The event that sat between Tech Solo Prelims and Finals was the prelim tech team event. In case you can't find me, I'm in the middle. Haha This team has a Fosse personality within the choreography and we fight every day to bring back that American Pride and presentation the U.S. is known for. We're sitting in 10th during prelims with finals tonight! (See Day 3) 

Day 2 

Day one also included prelims for the Mixed Duet Technical competition, but more on that later. 

Mariya and Anita competed in the Tech Duet for prelims and finals, and ended 12th after some great swims. I think the team and I cheered loud enough for the entire stadium, but hopefully it was loud enough for them to hear us from the water! All you can do from the side is cheer, and cross your fingers, and jump up and down when people you've been around do something well. It must be exhausting to be a coach. (Sorry to all the coaches who landrill their swimmers routines on the side while they compete. I feel your pain now)

Also competing in the tech duet competition was Aruba. My Collegiate coach Lori Eaton coaches Kyra and my old trio/duet partner Anouk. Wow. Lindenwood is EVERYWHERE. I also fell back into college cheering and I can't explain the kind of looks I received while I was cheering for them. I don't think people knew a person's voice could carry so far. I knew I was loud 😅

The routines that took the day was the Mixed Duet event. Bill May and Christina Jones were ranked in 2nd behind Russia going into finals, but it was a fight to the end. All goes to show its worth the hard work and the effort that is put into every day. They won GOLD!!! The first Mixed Duet event at an international level, and we were there to witness our national anthem be played and a gold medal given to US athletes. Such a special moment that pictures can never explain enough. 

Day 3 

So today we started with Free Solo, and after such an AMAZING showing last night, I was pumped. Not only did I still have a goal in mind, but I had the energy of a U.S. GOLD MEDAL from the day before. So proud to be the next routine following such a performance. I brought back my "Feelin' Good" routine from 2 years ago with some changes, and let me tell much better. It's hard, but it's something that speaks not only as a routine, but as something personal. "It's a new Dawn, it's a new day..." All you have to do is listen. Right now I'm in 8th! I'm excited and still aiming for my original goal. I can do this. Let's go. 

Then it was on to Tech Team Finals. We were all feeling ready before we walked out. We had the first draw, so we knew we had to go out and show off. While we didn't have the greatest swim, we had the best energy overall. We stayed in 10th place and personally, I'm ready to move on to the Free Event!! 

Hopefully I can update a little more often, with some of my own pictures. We don't always have access to our phones when were competing (I mean the iPhone isn't waterproof unfortunately...) but I'll do my best! 

Wish me luck moving forward! Go USA! (And Egypt, and Aruba, and Indonesia! Cause that's the LINDENWOOD representatives here at worlds!!!)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Malta Training

Can it get better than that?! I told you I would get another post today!!! 

Anyways, if it was possible to put a white sand beach on that view, then we'd be talking. That and I would probably never leave. Sorry America, from what I've seen, Malta has you beat when it comes to water based views. 

I've never seen water so blue. Minus the humidity, the weather is gorgeous everyday. Although being a Texan helps me out with the humidity point. I absolutely love how this place makes me feel. It's almost like I was a mermaid at some point, and I'm visiting home. 

However! Training is coming to a close here with only one day left, and as heart breaking it is that I'm getting SUPER pumped for Kazan! 

Our team did an exhibition with the Maltese team, and even took a picture with a few of them! It reminds me how much I love synchro, and why I started it in the first place. It's all for that little girl that wanted to play to the music and fell in love with the water. I can't wait to show everyone what I've got once we get to Kazan. 

This is a throw back picture, but I'm using it as a reminder of how I need to feel when swimming. Past Russian Junior National Team member, and now my Lindenwood duet partner, Vasilisa Mironova, is an inspiration in more ways than she knows. From being Collegiate National Champions, to US National Champions, she's taught me a lot. Now, I swim my Tech Solo at Worlds in Russia to the music she was planning to use as her Free Solo. Super excited!!! 

Signing off with a beautiful sunset from Malta. I'll be heading to Kazan, Russia, and I'll try to get another post going! 


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pan Ams Recap and Malta Preview

Hard to believe Pan Ams has come and gone. I tried to post this while we were there, but I guess it gets to be lumped in with Malta now. Prepare for pictures! 

Anyways, as with last Pan Ams in Guadelajara, the village is amazing. I felt like a small child sitting in some of these chairs. I felt like a little fish in a VERY big pond. With all the experiences of international meets, pan Ams has to be one of the most fun. It's like a mini Olympics just with less countries. As expected the cafeteria had good food, we had access to a game room, the US gave us some AWESOME Nike gear...

That's what matters right? Hahahahahaha okay but in all seriousness. The village was great. There are athletes walking around with the same goals as everyone else. To be the best athlete they can be. It's inspiring and intimidating all at the same time to be around athletes who have been to the Olympics anywhere from 3 to 5 times! (As in the case of the Flag Bearer, 5 time Olympic Medalist Kim Rhode: 

Yes that's a screen shot from my phone. Oh well! Our first competition day was fun. I've always loved competitions and the adrenaline you get before you compete. It was a little weird competing in only the team event, as I was a part of the Silver Medal Duet and Team in the 2011 Pan Am Games with Mariya, so I was expecting to have that extra kick of nervousness of performing twice. 

I took a panoramic picture of the pool when our team was introduced to the U.S. Ambassador before our technical team routine swim. He said that Synchronized Swimming was the first sporting event they had attended at this Pan American Games which says a lot. Synchro sometimes can be passed over, so it was nice to hear that they enjoyed it.
We had great swims in all our routines. The Tech duet had a great showing, and the Tech Team did one of our Highest lifts yet! 

Unfortunately it's hard to see how high that picture where Anita, our Flyer, is compared to the water, but believe me...the instant replay looked AMAZING. 

The free routines we didn't get a chance to take pictures for, as that was swim RIGHT before awards. So instead, you get a medal stand photo: 

Bronze baby! And no, those little mascots aren't dogs. They're porcupines! All in all it was a great beginning to what is to come...Worlds. And while this is where I would normally end a blog post
But I'll post the rest tomorrow. JUST to keep everyone in suspense! 

Here's a teaser just to make sure everyone comes back: 

Yep. That's the view from our hotel (courtesy of Tammy's photo taking skills) There's more! Just you wait. See yall tomorrow!