Feels like just last week the duet squad was at its first competition in France!! After coming back, focusing on team in preparation for US Nationals, and taking a brief Spring Break, it was already time to head to Shaoxing. We were invited to this competition by the head coach of the Chinese National Team, Mayuko Fujiki. She was also the head coach of Team USA in the 2011-2012 seasons, so Mariya and I were very excited to see her. The event was Chinese Nationals, and this was the first year they invited any outside countries to participate, making it the very first China Open.
In France, I was focused on not making any mistakes and performing the same way I had been at practice. Time seemed to move very slowly, and each and every practice and routine swim so deliberate and calculated.
This felt like a polar opposite. One day we were at practice in Moraga, the next it was time to compete in Shaoxing. Mariya and I had very little time to prep together compared to French Open. The theme of this preparation period and performance, for me personally, was “confidence”. I felt like that was something I could improve on, and would affect all areas of my swimming. Luckily, that is one my duet partners greatest skills, so all I had to do was hop on her wavelength!
Our swims overall felt pretty strong…this was confirmed by our coach Myriam. Going into finals, we had a rough warmup. I had a few major synchronization errors during music time. Between warmup and competition, I knew I had to stay out of my head. I needed to be confident in myself and my ability to listen to the music and go with my duet partner. I couldn’t overthink things..or I would definitely make a mistake.
I stayed true without second guessing, and did it right! We had a strong finals swim, and I was really proud of both myself and Mariya. I reconfirmed that I am the creator of my own reality, and in a situation where I had total control, I took the wheel and made it happen. I was both in the moment and in the flow.
It was pretty exciting winning a silver medal. It was more exciting swimming well. It is interesting how others notice the former, and the latter is something you just know inside your heart. In ten years, I will remember how I performed, the memories I made with the people I was with, and getting to do what I loved. But the silver medal is nice too 🙂
The day after competition concluded, Myriam, Mariya, Linda and I got to explore the city a bit with some of the translators showing us around. It was great getting to explore China a bit!
Now, Mariya, Anita and I are the duet squad moving forward to World Championships in Kazan, Russia. More hard work ahead, for both duet and team!! Next stop, US Opens, in Long Island, New York.