Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cal State Games

We did it! The team went to the Cal State Games to compete this past Friday and had a blast!! Several of us went down on Thursday night so we'd be there bright and early for the solo competition. Corby, Mariam and I all had solos.

Friday was a day of firsts.

I gelled my hair for the first time without Karen. I gelled Corby's hair for the first time. I was disappointed with how mine came out. It still felt spongy a couple hours later when we went to the pool. I was happy with Corby's, though. Hers hardened right away and she didn't have a helmet head.

I still needed Karen to put on my headpiece and the silver looked really nice. Now I just have to decide on the shape it should be and it'll be perfect. I was excited that even though my hair didn't have enough gel, it still held up in the water.

I actually had deck work for the first time. It really wasn't much. I totally didn't wait for them to announce me before I walked out. It's little things like that that don't even cross my mind. Gotta work on it. I dove in. Out like Corby told me, but as always, I didn't lock my knees enough so they kinda splatted in. Those two things combined kind threw me off so I don't think my opening jump was as high as it could've been.

Here's the video:

As you can see, I have to really work on holding my height for my walkout. I feel like I'm sinking like a rock. That's pretty amazing considering my buoyancy issues. The spin went okay, but my timing got off on the next strokes so I was rushed going into the porpoise. The heron was a bit on my back, but I've seen much worse out of me.

But the thing I really hate is the jump after the heron. I had a total brain fart and forgot to sink all the way under which makes that section look really awkward. Still, I kept going and finished with the hybrid Margo taught me a couple weeks before. I liked it. I just have to do it with more definition and it'll be good. The end of the routine was way too wishy washy. I have to fix that as well.

Despite all of that, I was pretty happy with that swim overall. As you can see, this routine has gotten significantly more difficult since I swam it in Australia. I'm glad I've already tried it out so I have time to fix all these things before Nationals. Like the jump where I had a brain fart. That section is totally gone. I'm going to put in some strokes instead.

On to Corby. Her hair came right down as she was warming up. Part of the problem were the heavy scrunches she had in her long heavy ponytail. Once they got wet, gravity totally took over. And I don't think the gel had enough time to set because she had strands of hair in her face. We got her fixed up before she swam her beloved Ay Jalisco for the first time in front of an audience. She did quite well. Check it out:

She's also seen the video and some things in mind to fix before Nationals. But overall, I was pretty proud of her. I'm sad she had competition in her age group so she didn't get the gold, but I really Michael, too and am happy for him. But she's my teammate and I'm going to help her kick his butt in Vegas! Nothing but love for ya, though, Michael.

Last up for the Masters solos was Mariam. I'm so glad she came. The audience was amazed, too. Most of them are parents of synchronized swimmers and they never even think that they can swim themselves. But at 89, Mariam kinda squashed their excuse that they're too old!

She swam her new routine "Doggy in the Window." I'd heard that it was totally adorable and I'd heard right. Here's her video:

After the solos, I sat with Karen to see what she sees when she judges. It was a totally different experience. And it was cool to get into the mindset of a judge so when I swim my routines, I know what they're looking at. I'm starting to feel okay about judging on my own. But I'll practice some more at our workouts.

And for the main event! The team competition! The warmup was horrendous. It was like nothing came together. And the the warmup period was super short. When we cleared the pool, we just had to hope for the best.

And we got it. It was certainly by the grace of God that we got through that routine. I smiled my little heart out at all the judges. I smiled so much at one of them, that I forgot what the heck I was supposed to be doing and totally screwed up the pointy fingers. But I was able to get back on track and went under for the spin. I think it went okay. Vickie has the video so I haven't seen it yet. When I get it, I'll post it.

On to the festivities. The Olympic team was doing a show in Riverside to raise funds for Beijing on Saturday so our competition day ended up being on Friday. That was fabulous because after the awards ceremony, we had time to go out for dinner as a team. Those who were staying headed off to Qualcomm stadium for the Opening Ceremonies.

I'm sure it was because we had all the hard part behind us, but this opening ceremony was the best ever. It was strictly fun. We arrived just in time to pick up our t-shirts and get into line to march into the stadium. It was the 20th anniversary of the Cal State Games so there were more athletes there than ever. We had to sit on the field because there were no more seats left.

Navy Seals parachuted in, a troupe danced to Ease on Down the Road, there were interviews from Olympians who were past Games participants, BMX bikers did their thing and then the Amazing Christopher made his entrance.

I only got video of part of his act, but he was hysterical. If you want to see more, he's on YouTube. If you want to book him for a gig, his contact info is on there as well. Trust me. You won't be sorry. Here's the clip I have:

Crazy, huh? He was my absolute favorite part of the Games this year. After the ceremonies, we headed back to the hotel where we chatted over dessert then off to bed. We were heading to Riverside the next day for the watershow with the Olympians.

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