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Olympics 2012

What It Takes to Be an Olympic Synchronized Swimmer

Written on June 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm , by

The girls slather themselves in Vaseline before getting in the pool to keep their skin from drying out from the chlorine. (Photo courtesy of John Herr)

This week I got the chance to grab some breakfast with the ladies of the U.S. Synchronized Swimming National Team. In addition to getting the ins and outs of the sport I learned that two of the team’s swimmers, Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva will be representing the team in London this summer, competing in the duet event and sponsored by Infusium 23. Below, a look into how the team gets ready to compete. (Hint: It includes lots of eating!)

  • The girls work out eight hours a day, six days a week and mostly in the water. When they’re not practicing their routine, they’re lifting weights to stay toned and strong. Boosters (the girls who launch a teammate, known as the flier into the air) do lots of squats to power up their legs.
  • A synchronized swimming routine is typically between three to five minutes, and the moves and even positions of the swimmers are always changing. If a routine is done in competition and a judge makes a comment about a position or move, it gets replaced and new moves and angles have to be learned.
  • During the routine, swimmers are holding their breath 50 percent of the time. To train for this, they often do underwater laps during practice to exercise their lungs.
  • Things can get rough in the water! The girls have all experienced sprained toes from being kicked, bruises and even concussions–ouch!
  • To keep their bodies fueled the girls stick to a low-carb, high protein diet. Since they work out for so long, an assistant brings them meals in Tupperware to the side of the pool to eat while practicing. Sounds like a dream come true, but the girls say eating while you work out is actually not all that appetizing!

Killman and Koroleva will be off to London for the Opening Ceremony, and then will spend a week in Dublin training before competition starts August 5. For more information on them and the rest of the team visit usasynchro.org.

 

Ditch Nasal Allergies With Volleyball Olympian Misty May-Treanor

Written on May 10, 2012 at 9:52 am , by

May-Treanor keeps her allergies in check so she can dominate on the court. (Photo courtesy of Matt McCabe)

With less than 80 days until athletes start their journey in the London Olympics, it’s full-blown red, white and blue love here in the office. So when the opportunity to chat with three-time Olympian Misty May-Treanor arose, we simply couldn’t say no (and who would want to?). May-Treanor is working with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America on the Ditch the Drip campaign, educating allergy sufferers around the globe on how to get (and stay!) healthy when pollen season kicks into high gear. An allergy-sufferer herself, May-Treanor has learned to pay attention to her environment, both on and off the court, to make sure her performance is always top notch.

We caught up with the beach volleyball pro, who is teammates with Kerri Walsh, about how she fights those pesky allergies and what she’s most looking forward to about this year’s Olympic Games.

Suffering from allergies when your job is to play a sport outdoors must be challenging. How do you deal with it all?

It’s really important that I take preventative measures. As I was getting older, I finally realized that every time the pollen picks up I would start to get all of the usual symptoms—a lot of sneezing, runny eyes and nose, etc. I’m traveling to a lot of different environments for work, so now I make sure that I’m prepared beforehand.

What type of preventative measures do you take?

I’ll take medicine if necessary and that will clear it up. But beforehand, I look more at the climate. If it’s going to be a problem, then I make an appointment with the doctor to make sure I’m taking any steps possible to make sure I won’t be affected drastically.

How do you feel going into the Olympics? Do you feel like a high standard has been set, or do you feel more relaxed?

Kerri might tell you differently, but we’ve proven the type of players and team that we are, so I don’t feel like we have anything to prove. But at the same time, we set our own standards high because we want to be the best. We put so much pressure on ourselves to excel because we want to be the players that we know that we know we can be.

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