With the start of the 2012 Olympics right around the corner (Hello, the Opening Ceremony is tomorrow!), I must admit I am pretty excited. There is just something about watching top athletes from around the world compete at such a high level. I will be glued to my TV. And when I’m not, my DVR will be recording around the clock to capture all of my fave events.
I am especially interested in all the swimming-related sports this year—probably because I’ve met so many Olympians from this field in the last month or so.
I chatted with 2008 Gold Medalist Nathan Adrian, who will be vying for another top spot at this year’s games, about his recovery drink of choice: chocolate milk. (Nothing like a little chocolate-y goodness after a hard workout!)
Our June cover model, Dara Torres shared some of her top stretching tips with me after a Bi-Polar workout class at Crunch Fitness. (And although she fell short of making what would have been her sixth Olympic games earlier this month, she still proved age is nothing but a number when she won a silver medal at age 41 in the 50-meter freestyle in 2008.)
However, the most intriguing Olympians that I’ve met this year are Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva, members of the synchronized swimming duet team, both who are making their debut at this year’s games.
Now I’ll admit, I’ve never watched synchronized swimming a day in my life. And if you were to ask me about it, my only reference point would be those old Esther Williams films that seem to be more about elaborate costuming and matching theatrics. But truth be told, synchronized swimming isn’t just about shellacking your hair into place with some Knox Gelatin. This sport is hard core! After a short yet intricate sequence performed by these pool dynamos, along with the rest of the USA Synchro National Team, I learned just how much.
Sadly, the only moves I mastered were floating and treading water. Everything else—the boost (a super fast, headfirst rise out of the water), eggbeater (a version of treading water where each leg moves in the opposite direction), and countless other water tricks, were all epic fails. (My father would be so ashamed of my lack of pool savvy, considering he was a diver on the swim team in college.)
After an hour of splashing around in the pool, one thing was clear—I do not have what it takes to be a synchro star. There will be no 8-hour days for me and I highly doubt I’ll ever be able to hold my breath for up to a minute while kicking, jumping, and splashing about (It’s kind of like sprinting 200 meters while holding your breath!), and showing my pearly whites the whole time. But I do wish Killman and Koroleva best of luck on their quest for the gold!