A little about me...

My name is Mariya Koroleva and I'm a member of the U.S. Olympic Duet for the sport of synchronized swimming. I've been swimming for 17 years (yikes!) and I've been on the national team for 9. I graduated from Stanford University in 2013 and am almost finished getting my masters degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco. I love chocolate, cross stitching, scented candles and sunsets. Follow me on my journey to my second Olympics in Rio de Janeiro!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thank you's

Hey everyone! I know I've been MIA for the last few days but I've been so busy! My mom and brother were here so I was sightseeing with them and running around enjoying London. I want to write about everything but I don't have much time so I'm going to do that when we get back to the States. Today is the last day of the Games and we leave tomorrow morning after the Closing Ceremonies. I am already getting nostalgic about leaving this place. It's been a magical experience and I don't want it to end. I've made many amazing memories here that I will carry with me and will always remember. But more on that later. As I finish this Olympics, I want to thank some people who have been instrumental in my journey. So bear with me as I go through this list!

A big thank you to:

My mom - for sticking by my side no matter what, teaching me to think for myself and for supporting my dream with all her heart
My dad - for believing in me when others didn't and encouraging me to do my best and for working those long nights at Bingo to support my swimming
My brother - for always being positive and so happy to see me. I love him so much and seeing how much he looks up to me inspires me to be a great role model.
Mayu - for pushing me farther than I thought possible, for making me a better athlete and stronger person and even for those crazy workouts that I barely survived!
Mary - for letting me swim next to the wall in the workouts, giving me a shoulder to lean on and being by my side in this Olympic journey
Caitlin (our reserve athlete) - for being so positive and full of life, for being a great reserve and an even better friend
Holly Heitzman (our physical therapist) - for keeping me in one piece during training and competitions. I wouldn't have been able to make it through this without Holly's magical hands
Brian Thompson - for adjusting the workouts to fit my personal needs and for joking around with us in the gym
The staff at St. Vincent Sports Performance - I always walked in to see smiling faces and everyone was extremely helpful and positive. Thank you for supporting us in every way you could!
Dr. Mark Safran - for doing my hip surgery and following up to make sure my recovery was going properly
Dr. Michael Coscia - for doing my back surgery and giving me support the last few months
Dane Smith - for helping design our free duet swim suits. They turned out great!
Tammy McGregor - for seeing the Olympic potential in me when I was young and for making me realize that I could go all the way. Thank you for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.
Heather Olson - for supporting all of my decisions and sticking by my side throughout the last few years.
My Tridelta sisters - for your endless support! I love my sisters and am proud to be a DDD

I know there are many many more people who have helped and supported me and there are not enough words to thank all of you. Without your love and support this experience would not have been what it was. Look out for another post soon about the last few days here in London.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tech duet competition

Tech duet day!

Today was the first day of competition and man was it a long day. I woke up at 5:45 am and we headed to the pool. We warmed up and then had practice with music, which we shared with Spain. There were only a few duets in the pool so it was nice to have our own space (I like my space during warmup, my teammates will tell you that!) Afterwards we knoxed and then came the actual competition warm up without music. I was slightly stressed out at the end of warm up because we couldn't get our walk-on right so we kept doing it over and over again. But by the end we had done it so many times that it was engrained in our heads (and we didn't mess up during the competition!)

We had a little bit of down time before the competition began so I spent the hour wearing my compression pants laying on the ground with my feet up and playing the Beatles on my iPhone. Very relaxing indeed! Finally, it was time to go. Mary and I got in the pool about 45 minutes before the competition started, went over the elements a few times and then headed to the last call room. We listened to our music and went over the main points we were trying to hit in the routine. 

By this time, I was getting nervous! I was thinking, oh man what if my legs aren't warmed up? What if I mess up the deckwork? But as soon as those thoughts came in my mind I pushed them away and kept saying, we can do this, we are ready! Staying positive calms me down and helps my body relax, which is very important for me before a swim. As soon as we walked out to the edge of the platform, my energy changed. I saw the hundreds of people in the stands, the American flags waving and the people cheering and suddenly I felt very calm. All eyes were on us. We were the first duet to compete and this is when it finally hit me. I am at the Olympic Games. And it was an undescribable feeling. I've never experienced anything like it, not at any other national, collegiate or international competition. As soon as we dove in, I knew it was going to be a good swim. I felt very calm and together and the swim was FUN! Usually I am preoccupied with thinking about my corrections or freaking out about how my legs are already tired but this time I could actually enjoy every second of the swim, even when my lungs were burning underwater. It was very cool.

Mayu told us it was our best swim yet, and even though there were some minor mistakes, Mary and I were both very happy with it. We did what we set out to do, which was to hit all of our elements, put on a great show for the audience and to set the bar high for the rest of the competition. We are in 10th place going into free duet tomorrow. We are only .2 away from 9th place and I think if we hit our routine we can blow the judges away. Today was a great start for us! I can't wait to swim tomorrow and to show off our free program. I loved getting the encouraging texts, messages and tweets :) it made my day to see how many people are thinking about and rooting for Mary and I so thank you again. 


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Now we go

Alright, the time has come. Tomorrow is the first day of competition - technical duet. And guess who will be starting off the Olympic Games for synchronized swimming with the #1 draw? MK SQUARED! That's right, we drew first. Although swimming first is not considered great luck in synchro, we looking at it in a positive way. We will be the duet to open up the competition. That's pretty cool to say that the first synchronized swimmer anyone will see at the Games will be me during our walkout! Hopefully swimming first will bring us some good luck :) Because we compete first, we will also have more time afterwards to practice our free routine for the day after. All in all,we can't control the draw, but we can use it to our advantage and really start the competition off with a bang and set the bar high for all the other duets. We will swim right at 3 London time so make sure you tune in! NBC Olympics will be broadcasting live!


We have one practice tonight and a practice with music tomorrow morning and then it's game time. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me throughout this experience. I've gotten an overwhelming amount of support from everyone at home and it's really great to hear all of the encouragement. I will try to update after our competition tomorrow but I might just go straight to bed because it's going to be a long day tomorrow. If anything, I will post on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks again to all of my supporters!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympic Games Day 9

We are back in London!! It feels so good to be back. Although Dublin was great, it's nice to be back in the Olympic hype. We had another 6 am flight, so this morning I was once again in a delirious half-asleep state. Cate's flight was later in the morning so we had to say bye to her when we left. Unfortunately she cannot stay in the village with us and is at a hotel close to the pool. I wish she could experience the village life with us...it's tough being the alternate because you go through all the same training as the duet but you don't get to go through the Olympics in the same way. Cate's been a trooper though and always staying positive and finding the good in everything. We will see her tomorrow though when we go to the University of East London's high performance center.

We got to the village around 10 am, had a short break and headed to the competition pool for music time. The morning session was short and went pretty well. Usually after traveling (and especially after not getting quality sleep) my body feels stiff and tired, but today it felt great! My back hasn't been too bad either (knock on wood) and the only thing that's bothering me is my adductor, but I am keeping it under control. During the morning practice I was having some equipment malfunctions. The strap on one of my ankle weights ripped the other day so I borrowed one of Cate's weights. Hers was in pretty bad condition though...the material on one side had holes in it so the small rocks inside were slowly falling out. When I was wearing the weight today I kept seeing the rocks fall to the bottom of the pool and scratch my ankle as we were practicing. It was kind of a struggle, but during our lunch break I got a sewing kit from the USOC and fixed my own pair. So it's all good for now! Let's hope they can last for the next few days.

Our second practice was in the practice pool. Again, we shared our music time with Canada. At the end when we were swimming through our free program the whole team cheered for us throughout our entire swim. It was so nice so have someone cheer us on. We aren't training with the team anymore, so we usually swim through in silence, which is fine, but hearing screams of encouragement definitely helps when you feel like you are going to pass out. Even though Canada is our competition, I like that they have good sportsmanship and can cheer us on.

After practice we got to meet with Holly for physical therapy. She made a trek from her hotel to work with us and I'm very thankful for that because she knows my body and my injury well and knows how to keep me in one piece. Plus she's great to talk to in general. Holly is the best :)

Ok that's it for today! Gotta catch up on some sleep now!

Until tomorrow,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Games Day 8

For the last few days Mary and I have been in Dublin, Ireland. We couldn't stay in London because we wouldn't have any pool time while swimming is competing. We were in Dublin in April before the Olympic Qualification so this time around we are pretty much locals! It's so nice being here. The people are so warm and welcoming everywhere we go. We met up with Caitlin Stewart, who is our replacement athlete and my good friend. I love having Cate here! She is such a breath of fresh air and always has a smile on her face. She is a great source of motivation for Mary and I and we can always count on her to crack a joke or push us through a tough practice.

Unfortunately we didn't get to see anything in Dublin other than the hotel and the pool. All of our time was spent either practicing or resting. Maybe one day I can come back and explore the city! The weather has been cloudy and rainy, but I actually really like it. And the sky is gorgeous here. I am building quite a collection of sky and sunset pictures on my iPhone so I got to add some from Dublin. We have the entire diving well to ourselves at the National Aquatic Center, which is a beautiful facility, and we can use the 50 meter pool as well. The training conditions couldn't be better! (and the pool temperature is great!) Our schedule has stayed pretty much the same - two water practices with a lunch break in between when we can see Holly (our physical therapist) or sneak in a quick nap. It's been kind of nice to go back to our training routine and get away from all of the excitement in London. We've been able to focus on our routines and make some improvements. I miss the village though! There's something special about the energy in that place.  I can't wait to go back!

During our down time Mary, Cate and I have been watching the Olympics on TV every night. We've watched A LOT of swimming and equestrian. We watched womens gymnastics win gold in the team event last night and Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian! It's weird watching swimming events and knowing that we are going to compete in that pool in just a few days. We will definitely be competing in some golden water!

Yesterday we did an exhibition for the public at the NAC. We had a full crowd in the stands! It was pretty cool to see that many people who came just to watch us swim. When we were here with the team in April, our exhibition sold out! Although the crowd wasn't quite as big this time, it was still very impressive. Our swims went pretty well, but there is always room for improvement. I'm glad we did the exhibition because it gave Mary and I another chance to perform in front of a crowd and simulate the competition. Afterwards we signed autographs and took pictures. The people were so excited for us and we received a tremendous amount of support from the community. I feel like we have the whole country behind us as we go into competition, which is a cool feeling. I don't think we could have chosen a better place to train before we head to London and I am thankful for everything the Irish people have done for us.

Tomorrow we have an early flight to London and we will immediately head to the competition pool for music time. From now until the 5th we are going to have tunnel vision focus. Even though there are a lot of distractions in the village, Mary and I are going to keep our eyes on the prize. We've been making a lot of improvements in the last few days and hopefully we will continue getting better! Stay posted :)


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympic Games Day 3


The Games are officially underway! The Opening was pretty spectacular. Well, not the actual show because we didn't really get to see any of it, but everything else was unbelievable. The entire U.S. delegation lined up in front of our building before we walked over the the stadium together. The walk was shorter than the one at the Pan American Games so my back and my legs were happy to not have to be on my feet for that long. We mingled for about an hour and I got to see my friends and take pictures. The NBA players were very popular during this time! Everyone wanted a picture with them and I got one with one of them except I don't know who he is... I have no idea what his name is or what team he plays for but I just wanted to say that I took a picture with one of the hotshots!

By the time we made it to the stadium I was getting pretty anxious and excited. Standing in the tunnel right before we walked out my heart was beating so fast! When we walked out, all I could see were blue lights in the audience. Those lights actually turned out to be part of the seats, but you couldn't see the people's heads in the dark so it was kind of confusing. Walking around the track I had the biggest smile on my face. Seeing all of my USA teammates in our Ralph Lauren outfits and feeling that Olympic buzz was such a high. After walking a lap we piled into the center of the stadium and mixed in with all the other athletes. We watched the rest of the ceremonies from there. I couldn't really see anything but I was really close when the runners ran around with the Olympic torch! That was pretty cool. At the end all of the different torches came together in the middle to form one giant torch and we were so close to it! I could even feel the heat from it radiating.

And then Paul McCartney came on. I think I almost had a heart attack. I love the Beatles! He sang Come Together and Hey Jude and I was so happy. People started to sing along and it was just unreal. I don't think it gets better than this. I am so thankful to be a part of this experience!

The next morning was pretty rough. We had to leave the village at 4 am to make our flight to Dublin and I was in a delirious half-asleep state and slept everywhere and anywhere. On the taxi ride, on the floor at the airport, on a bench at the airport, and on the place itself. Luckily we got to take a nap before practice because otherwise I might have fallen asleep in the pool. We are staying here for a few more days because we don't have pool time in London while swimming is competing. I already miss the village! The energy in that place definitely gives you a rush. The next time I will be there it will almost be time to compete! Mark your calendars, we are competing in tech duet on August 5.

Until next time,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olympic Games Day 2

Oh man, the last 2 days have been so busy! Where to begin? We left Indy on the 24th and took off for London. On our flight over I got to fly in business class. My surgeon suggested that I upgrade because it would be easier on my back to be able to lie down in more comfortable chairs during the long flight. It was well worth it. I slept the whole flight, got great service and food and even a travel case with toiletries. Why don't we always fly business?? When we got to London we went through the accreditation process, dropped off our bags and headed straight for the competition pool for music time. Now, as much as I didn't want to jump in a pool after traveling for 12 hours, it actually felt good! We kicked out our legs and then got to go through our routines with music. There were only a few other countries there so it wasn't too crowded, which was nice.

Being back in the Aquatic Center felt really good. In April we were here for the Qualification Tournament so we kind of already knew the lay of the land. This time though, there are Olympic Rings everywhere, London 2012 logos, lots of lights and a lot more seating. The bleachers go up so high! I don't even think you could see the swimmers from up there! For some reason there is something very calming about this facility. Even with all the commotion, as soon as I jump in that pool I feel confident and strong and the routines seem to flow a little more. I can't wait to compete here again!

After practice we went to processing, where we got all of our Nike and Ralph Lauren outfitting. I knew we were going to get a lot of clothes but man, we got A LOT of clothes. Two suitcases and two full backpacks. It took us about two hours to try everything on and get our Opening Ceremonies outfits tailored. It was like Christmas! By the time we got done with everything it was past 9 pm and I was tired and hungry. I fell asleep while we were waiting for the bus and apparently there were people taking pictures of me and posing behind me. Cool guys... The rest of the night I was in a half-asleep, slightly hallucinating delirious state and all I wanted was a bed. When we got back to our rooms at the village I passed out immediately. Mary and I are rooming with two pentathletes who moved in today but we haven't seen them yet.

The village is gorgeous. It's very sleek and modern and the dining hall is huge! There is food from all over the world so there are many options. We haven't had any time to explore the rest of the village but I'n sure I will at some point. Mary and I each get our own room which is nice because we both like our space. The view from my room is breathtaking!

Today was another practice day. We went to the practice pool in the village (which has 3 Olympic sized pools, a synchro pool and a water polo pool) and then had another practice in the competition pool. After than I got some physical therapy done and a massage and now I'm just relaxing in my suite. So far London has been great but I feel like I haven't done much other than practice. That's ok though because I will have plenty of time to explore and do other things when we are done competing. Right now it's all abou preparation and recovery so we have to stay focused.

Tomorrow is the Opening Ceremonies! It's crazy that the Games are officially starting tomorrow. I think it's going to be cool to be with the whole U.S. delegation sporting our Ralph Lauren outfits and being one united team.

I will try to write every couple of days but if you want more updates and pictures, check out my Twitter page (https://twitter.com/mkoroleva) or follow me on Instagram (mkoroleva). I've been updating both pretty frequently.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

Time to write about Mary and I's latest trip to...LAS VEGAS! And no, we did not go there to gamble and lounge at the pool, but to perform an exhibition at the U.S. Open Championships, a competition for both junior and senior swimmers. The days leading up to the trip were very tough physically. We were doing a lot of weight belt training and the long days were tiring. Coming to Vegas was a nice break from the hard training because we got to perform for a home crowd and get some good feedback for our routines. It was inspiring for me to see the younger girls who were so excited to watch us swim. They were piling on top of each other to get a glimpse of our routine and then lining up afterwards to get an autograph or a picture with us. I think this trip was just what we needed. It was a great send-off for the Games and I felt so much support and love from everyone I talked to and saw. It was also good for Mary and I to get another competition simulation under our belt. With this last performance, we are on our way to truly being prepared for London!

Mary and I after our free duet performance

Usually when we travel for competitions and exhibitions we don't get to see much outside of the hotel and the pool. This time, however, we made TWO whole outings! We got to go see "O" and Le Reve, two of the shows that feature synchronized swimming. Both of them were amazing!! I liked how they incorporated synchro and used the artistic parts of the sport to create an impressive and entertaining display. We even got to go backstage and see some of the performers, who sported some sexy costumes and over-the-top make-up, which I loved. I wish we got to walk around a little more and explore the hotels because driving through the strip there were so many lights and cool looking hotels! But we had to get back to Indy and get back to work. I can save the fun stuff for after London :)

 I sneaked a picture of the clowns during "O"!

Now we are back in Indy and it is T-minus 7 days until we leave for the Olympics! This week is going to be very tough. We are revving up our training and doing more endurance work so that we can taper off a little bit once we get to our training in Dublin. My back has been flaring up more lately so I am trying to keep the pain under control with physical therapy and medication (For those of your who don't know, I had back surgery in January to remove a small part of my spine). Having a chronic injury definitely makes it harder to push yourself during training and it forces me to listen to my body to know when I am pushing too hard and when to slow down. Holly at St. Vincent Sports Performance has been my angel and working with her during the week is what really helps me stay on track in managing my injury. Even though this is a big challenge, I am trying to stay positive and motivated as we head into this final stretch. I want to thank everyone for your continued support and I will be updating a lot more often once we get overseas to give you all sneak peaks into the village, the competition venues and the Games in general! Stay posted :)

Lots of L,

Saturday, June 30, 2012

T'was the night before finals...

Hey everyone! Tomorrow Mary and I compete in duet finals at the Swiss Open in Geneva. Our coach Mayu gave us a few extra hours of rest and I don't know what to do with myself! I'm so used to having only an hour or two before I have to go to bed that I don't know what to fill the free time with. I've called home, watched two episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Facebook stalked my friends....so it's time to write another blog update! :)

We've been in Europe for the last two weeks and it's been really busy. Right before we left Mary and I had the privilege of attending the St. Vincent Sports Performance Spirit of Sport Awards. It's an annual event that recognizes the accomplishments of high school athletes and coaches and this year Mary and I got to present the Creativity Award! It was pretty cool to hear about all of the great things the nominees have done for the athletic community. I was inspired to see high school students taking leadership roles and exceeding expectations on and off the field. Thanks St. V's for putting on such an amazing event! Here is a picture:

The day after, we flew to Mallorca, Spain to compete in the Spanish Open. I've never been there before but heard that it was a vacation hot spot. And after visiting it, I want to go on vacation there too! It's right on the sea, has cute little restaurants and shops and lots of sunshine. It was so tempting to throw on my bikini, grab a drink and run to the beach. But we were there for a competition so it was all work and no play. It was definitely not Mary and I's best meet. We just finished writing a new free program and this was our first time competing with it so it was a little rough. We didn't get the placement we wanted but it was a good learning experience. Not every meet is going to go smoothly, so it's important to know how to deal with disappointment. I always get frustrated after bad swims but Mayu has helped me a lot in looking at the big picture and focusing on getting back up and back to work.

Although Mary and I were able to come together quickly for the Pan American Games and win a silver medal, training for the Olympics is a whole different ballgame. We are competing against duets who have swum together for years and who have been on the international stage as a duet for a long time. We have a lot of catching up to do and not a lot of time to do it. It's frustrating sometimes but we try to use it as motivation to work quickly and efficiently. I think this is just the beginning for us as a duet and we will continue to grow and improve in the years to come.

The view on our ride to the pool

After the meet we went to CAR, the Olympic training center in Barcelona for two days. It was back to practice mode as we made some changes to both programs and continued to work on our endurance and synchronization. From then we traveled to Geneva, Switzerland for the Swiss Open. Two days ago we had the tech duet competition and we are currently in 1st place. Although our scores didn't reflect it, we had a much better swim than last week in Spain and were happy with our improvement. I know I keep saying this about every place I go to, but I love Geneva! It's close to France so everyone speaks French! Finally we are in a city where I can speak the language. Well, sort of. Since taking a break from Stanford my French has gotten pretty rusty so it's good that I am getting to practice it a little here. Something that is different about this meet is that we use public transportation to get to the pool. We take the tram for a couple stops and then walk along the river. It's actually pretty cool! Riding the tram makes me feel like I live in this city and walking is a good warm-up. I've been enjoying it a lot.

Our daily walk

Waiting for the tram

Everyone has been really nice and accommodating too. The food tastes homey and it's been a little more of a low-key meet which is just what I needed. Tomorrow we compete in the duet finals! I am excited to swim our free program again because it's improved tremendously in the last week. I want to have a good showing so it can give us momentum heading into the last month before the Games. On Monday morning we head back to Indy and then it's back to work! I love traveling and it's one of the perks of being an elite athlete, but I am ready to go home. I am a little concerned though because it's supposedly really hot in Indy right now and we don't have air conditioning in our duplex.... I have a feeling I will be moving my mattress downstairs because my room will be a sauna. Anyways wish us luck tomorrow and I will catch you all later!


P.S. Thank you for all of the encouragement!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

East to West Coast

During the last two weeks I've gotten the opportunity to travel to New York and California and both trips were awesome! In NYC my teammates and I did a press event for one of USA Synchro's sponsors Infusium 23. With the help of K Public Relations LLC we got to meet with beauty and fitness editors as well as bloggers and to answer their questions about hair, makeup, and training for the Olympics. After doing a short demo, many of the editors got in the pool with us and tried synchro! They were all so excited to learn new moves and weren't afraid to go upside down and even get lifted out of the water. I think they had some fun and so did we! Many of them were surprised to hear how much we practice and were very impressed when they saw us perform. They were also interested to hear how our makeup stays on in the water and what we do to keep our hair healthy. We shared some of our tips and tricks for not letting the chlorine get the best of our skin and hair and told them about what goes into our  daily training regimen. I think it was great to get this kind of exposure for our team and for Infusium! Here are a few of the beauty and fitness articles from the trip:




I loooooved being in New York City. From getting to talk to stylish beauty editors to walking the streets of the city, I got the "big city" experience. I would maybe like to live here for a summer. It would be fun to do an internship or something like that and get to live like a New Yorker for a little. Who wouldn't love having this view every day??

After a few days back in Indy, Mary and I went to my hometown of Walnut Creek, CA to participate in the Walnut Creek Aquanuts' Celebration of Champions. This is an annual fundraiser that the club puts on in the spring and this year they featured 3 Olympic duets - the U.S., France and the Czech Republic. It felt SO good to be back home. Mary and I stayed at my house during these three days and even though I didn't get to spend much time with my family, it was still really nice to sleep in my own bed and to be home. My parents and brother were so happy to have me home too, even if it was only for a short while. My brother actually showed me an essay he wrote about me in school and it was very sweet. He talked about how much he looks up to me and how proud he is that I am going to the Olympics. Reading that just warmed my heart and I am happy that I can be an inspiration to him.

I quickly realized that my skin was not used to swimming outdoors again. I had some pretty scary tan lines after the first practice and my skin hurt constantly. I guess that's what you get for being indoors for a year! But hey, I'm not complaining. I needed a little color. Mary and I shared the pool with the younger girls during our two days of practice and then on Saturday we performed both of our routines at the show. The Aquanuts decked the pool out in Olympic decorations and even hung up the Olympic rings on one end!

Swimming at Heather Farms felt just right and having a home crowd was even better. I had so many people come up to me to wish me luck and to congratulate me on making it and I felt a lot of support from the entire Walnut Creek community. The Aquanuts were great hosts and I am thankful to them for having us! The French and Czech duet also swam very well. I enjoyed watching their routines and seeing some of the things they excel at.
The three Olympic duets

My parents and many of our family friends came to watch me swim and I am forever thankful that they've continued to believe in me over the years and that their support and love has always been there for me.
My brother Ivan and I after the show :)

Unfortunately we didn't get to stay after the exhibition to sign autographs and mingle because our flight left for Indy that night. Mary and I barely made it on the plane and my hair was still knoxed, I had full synchro make-up on and was too tired to even care about the strange looks we were getting at the airport. I just wanted to get back to Indy and sleep! Now that I've regained some of my energy I am looking forward to tomorrow's practice and the St. Vincent Spirit of Sport Awards we are attending tomorrow night. Then we are off to Spain and Switzerland on Tuesday! Wish us luck at these two competitions!

Lots of love,

Thursday, June 7, 2012


A few weeks ago Mary and I went to Chicago to participate in the Olympic Ambassador Program which was put on by the U.S. Olympic Committee. We talked a lot about how to prepare mentally for the Games and what to expect from the experience. I learned a lot from the program and I had a good time! One of the things that was brought up in the discussions was the fact that going to the Olympics is about so much more than just you. It's about representing your entire nation, your sport, your friends and family, everyone who has ever supported or inspired you. It's so cool to think that I am a part of something that is so much bigger than myself. I am not going to the Olympics just for myself, and not by myself. I'm going to have the entire U.S. delegation with me along the way, and an entire country's support behind me. I love that feeling. It reminds me of the end of the "Amazing Awaits" poem that says "with a nation behind us, and a world in front of us, and within us all, amazing awaits". Just that one saying inspires me to put in the work every day, even when times get tough. It's the feeling of responsibility to be a good ambassador for my sport and for my nation that drives me to push myself and make myself the best athlete I can be at the Olympics.

There are many sources of inspiration for athletes, and another one of mine is the young girls who participate in synchro. Last weekend I went to the Indy Synchro water show and I had the best time. It's awesome to see younger girls who do synchro because they love it so much and have so much passion for the sport. This generation of swimmers is the future of synchronized swimming and when I watch these girls I know that synchro in the U.S. has a bright future. The girls from Indy Synchro has been so supportive to our team this past year and it's great to have them around. They inspire me to be a good role model for them and for young swimmers all over the country. What inspires you as an athlete? As a person?

Mary and I have a very busy month ahead of us. We just went to New York City for a press event (which I will write about soon), next week we go to California for an exhibition and then a few days after we go to Spain and Switzerland for two competitions. It's going to be a whirlwind of a month so it's really time to get focused and put all distractions aside.

Love, MKor

My teammates and I with some of the Indy Synchro girls.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Where do I begin?

Alright, I started a blog. Now what? I guess I should start by introducing myself and explaining why I decided to blog in the first place. My name is Mariya Koroleva and I am a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Duet for synchronized swimming. I was born in Yaroslavl, Russia and moved to California when I was 9. I've been doing synchro for 13 years and have been on the U.S. National Team since 2007. Right now I am supposed to be finishing up my senior year at Stanford University but I took the year off to train for the Games. My duet partner Mary Killman and I train in Indianapolis and we recently qualified to compete in London in August.

So that's my biography in one paragraph! I've always been a person who likes to remember events in my life and I love taking pictures, journaling, keeping track of my travels, etc. Going to the Olympics is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to remember this experience. Every little part of it. This event is going to be the culmination of my 13 years of training, and the next two and a half months are going to be the most exciting, hectic and exhausting months of my career and I want to document it so I have something to look back on when I am old and grey. And furthermore, I want to share my story with other people. The road to the Olympic Games is not a cookie-cutter process. Every Olympian's journey is different and everyone goes through their own struggles and moments of greatness. In this blog I will give you a glimpse of who I am as a person and as an athlete and I will bring you along for the wild ride for the next three months. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions!

Thanks for joining me and stay tuned for my next post!

Love, MKor