Journey To Rio: Less Than 100 Days
by Anita Alvarez, 2016 USA Synchro Olympic Duet
My duet partner, Mariya and I are part of the USA Synchronized swimming Olympic Duet! The last time you heard from us we had still needed to qualify for the games. Well I am very excited and proud to announce that we officially earned our spot in the 2016 Summer games! We did it!
The Olympic Qualification Tournament for Synchronized Swimming was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the first week of March. All of the other countries who had not yet qualified through the continental selection procedure competed against each other. We were very happy with our performances in Brazil, showing much improvement since our last competition at the French Open. Our overall ranking at the Qualifier was 7th place; we started closing the gap in score with our close competitors. We left Rio with great feedback from judges and officials, ready to go home and continue improving!
Before going home we stopped in LA where Team USA held a Media Summit for some 2016 Olympians and Olympic hopefuls. It was great to experience a part of the Team USA life and exciting to get all of that press at such an important and pivotal time for us, fresh off the high of qualifying.
As the Olympic Qualification phase of our training ended, we took a couple days off (our last real break until after the Olympics) and then were back to the grind. The first thing we did was revise both of our routines, taking into account the feedback from previous judges. We also increased our difficulty in both programs, as we are stronger now and can handle more challenging choreography. It was great to be home, but like always, not for long!
Next we headed off to Wuhan, China where we competed in the China Open just a few weeks after our short break following Rio. Starting the competition off with a much improved Technical Duet swim, we were pleased with our scores and the results, finishing with a silver medal behind the Chinese Olympic duet. The next day we competed our free program. We did not have the swim we had hoped for-- but we knew that we had just made many changes to our programs, including a huge jump in our routine's difficulty, so we took it as another learning experience and used it as motivation to continue improving. We were able to come away from the free duet event with a gold medal just in front of Brazil's Olympic Duet. Every chance Mariya and I get to swim together is a chance for us to grow as a duet, so even with an average performance, the China Open was a positive gain in experience and competition practice.
Our latest trip, just one week ago, took us to New York City. There we had another Team USA event where we celebrated 100 days out from Rio! We got to be apart of the Today Show and a big event in Times Square that day. It was so great to hang out with all our fellow U.S. athletes who share similar goals and dreams as us and are working just as hard as we are everyday to achieve them. After that we traveled to my hometown of Buffalo, New York to train and exhibit our routines there. I’m so glad that my family and friends had the opportunity to see us train for the week and watch a live performance.
We are currently back home in Moraga, California. We have a few more training camps and one more competition ahead of us before we fly to Rio on August 9th.
The dates of our competition at the Olympics are August 14-16, so be sure to check out some Synchronized Swimming and keep an eye out for our USA duet!
We are now less than one hundred days out from the Olympic Games! We want to say thank you for following along on our journey to Rio with Team SwimOutlet! Stay tuned for more and check out USA Synchro for more updates.
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