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, 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,