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Training at the Olympics

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Note: Team USA synchronized swimmer Mary Killman is writing about her experiences at the London Olympic Games. She and her duet partner, Mariya Koroleva, will compete Aug. 5-7.

Thursday we had three practices. Crazy, right? But first I want to introduce all of you to where athletes spend the second-most time of their lives, second only to their sport. We practice, we eat, we sleep. This is where the eating portion of our lives happens while in the Olympic Village!

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This is only about a fourth of the dining hall itself. On the left side of the picture you can kind of see one of the sections. That's American, European, and Mediterranean food. On the right you see where we get our trays and silverware. Plates and bowls are provided at each station. One of these days I'll count and let y'all know just how many different kinds of food we have to choose from. In the middle, where that blue sign is hanging, is the Great Britain section. All British food, all the time. I have yet to venture over into that area... time will tell.

What you don't see in this picture is all the other sections! There's a Caribbean food section, an Indian and Asian section, and there's even a section of strictly Halal cuisine!

Anyway, our practices are tough. But they should be with the Opening Ceremony going on tonight! So exciting! We had one practice this morning, then back to the village for an early lunch. Afterwards we had a few minutes, so Mariya and I sat outside. I'm not sure what I should call the area, but it's pretty. It's right where everyone has to walk through it to get to their buildings, so you always see people from all sorts of sports walking around.

But the relaxation was short-lived, and it was back to the pool for our second training session. When that one was finished, we actually came back to the village, but only to change buses and go to another pool! We originally thought this was going to be a bad thing, but it actually gave Mariya and me some time to work on the walk-out portion of our routine. (We have to get out on deck somehow, don't we?) First impressions mean a lot in synchronized swimming!

Then it was back to the village for dinner. We had a nutritionist walk us around the gigantic dining hall and pointed out facts. Each food has nutrition facts above it, sodium, calories, etc. All things we need to know in order to keep our bodies in tip-top condition! The dining hall has amazing food (and apparently even richer desserts, though that experimentation will have to wait until after the competition!), and if we're not careful, our diets will be ruined. Also, there's a lot of people. This causes some to lose focus on what they're really here to do: compete.

Having a good time is what it's all about, though. Enjoy what you're doing, or it isn't worth it all! Olympic spirit! You can be focused and still enjoy yourself. Just don't go crazy. That's the key!

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