Yesterday was our first day of competition starting with the free duet preliminary. It feels like we just got here but are already competing, which is exciting and a little nerve wracking at the same time. We came to the competition venue this morning at 7:15 unsure of what to expect from the pool. The night before our evening training was cancelled because they were draining the pool and replacing the water with water from the practice pool. The organizers said that this should be done in time for warmup this morning but when we got there, the pool still wasn't filled up all the way, so practice with music was pushed back an hour. Instead of getting in right away like we were supposed to, Anita and I knoxed our hair and pinned our headpieces instead. The competition was still scheduled to start at 11am, but our draw was #22 out of 24 duets, so we still had about two hours after our warmup before we had to get in again.
After doing a short second warmup, we headed to the last call room 3 routines before ours go get our makeup approved and do a think through of our routine. I think those minutes in the last call room are the hardest part of the Olympic Games. This is the time when you are trying to keep your muscles warm but your mind calm as you prepare to walk onto that stage. It is in those moments that you feel the gravity of what you are about to do: compete on the biggest international stage. It's hard to keep your mind off of the pressure to perform well. Especially for Anita and I, because we don't have a team competing here in Rio, we are carrying the weight of all of USA Synchro. We were both nervous before we swam but tried to just focus on the task at hand instead of the "big picture" of what this swim represents. Luckily, we got to swim in this pool when we competed here in March, so for me that made it a little easier because when we walked out on deck, the setting looked very familiar and I was immediately more comfortable. The swim itself felt pretty calm for me even though we only got to train in the competition pool once before.
When we got our scores after our swim, Anita and I couldn't contain our excitement. This was the highest score we have gotten this season! Our coaches said there were still minor things we could fix for finals on Tuesday but overall they were very happy with our swim. It always feels good when your coaches are happy because ultimately, they are the ones who watch you every day and therefore are the best judge of whether or not you did your best. After the competition, we deknoxed and came back to the village for about an hour and a half before having to go back to the pool for more training 😱We were both pretty tired when we went back but knew that we had to practice our technical program for today. Our music time in the competition pool was at 8:15pm so we didn't get back to the village until after 9. I was a zombie by the time we got back! My social media accounts were exploding with many positive comments and encouragement so I apologize for not being able to respond to everyone but want to offer a sincere thank you to those who have written to us! We feel very supported from back home :)
Today we have another 5am wake up for the technical duet competition. Those of you who know me well know that I need my sleep to function well and so far I've only gotten 8 hrs of sleep once here in Rio. I am pretty much running on adrenaline and caffeine but we only have two more days of competition left! Time to leave it all in the pool! Here are a few photos people posted of us from yesterday: