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!