Day Three - Captains Named
Day 3 begins with sleeping-in and a single practice for the day to prepare for the start of the meet tomorrow. After coming back from the pool we ate lunch. Nearby the hotel is a four level mall and the coaches took a few athletes over to shop and explore. About 15 people went and bought food, jewelry, and other goodies. Others stayed back at the hotel to rest up for their events. They shaved down, froze in ice baths, and hung out with their teammates. Prior to dinner everyone signed USA Swimming flags. After dinner we had a very fun and inspiring team meeting where we watched numerous videos to pump us up. We voted for team captains and tthe boys voted Matthew Josa and Gunnar Bentz. We were selected as the women's team captains. Then, we ended the night with a fun USA cheer to get everybody excited for tomorrow!
- Courtney Weaver and Kylie Stewart
Today, August 25th, started out smoothly! We all were stoked that we were given the departure time of 10:30 a.m. With a bit more sleep under out belts, we were ready to take Dubai by storm! On the bus we were advised by Jack to only swim once today. This news was exciting to hear and gave us time to do other things during the day.
Practice was smooth and easy and the team atmosphere today was amazing. I think we can all agree that our excitement is growing each day as we anticipate the week ahead. The team meeting tonight not only raised anticipation but gave us new meaning as we approach the start of competition.
The team captains were also announced tonight. The women's captains being Courtney Weaver and Kylie Stewart, and we were selected as the men's captains. We're all pumped for tomorrow's races and are ready to finally represent our country on one of the highest levels possible!
- Matthew Josa and Gunnar Bentz
Day Two - Getting Settled
Waking up this morning was a bit rough considering back home it was 12:30 a.m. We all headed down to breakfast and surveyed the food. Stir fry was among the options. After breakfast it was time to head to the pool (on the way there were some of our first camel sightings) for our first practice of the day. Walking into the pool with our uniforms on was such an amazing feeling. After a quick stretching/ dynamic warmup session we hit the water as one big group and then split up into our different training groups (sprint,mid-distance, IM, distance, etc).
After practice, we headed back to the hotel for some lunch. The girls all headed up to have some team bonding by introducing ourselves by saying our name, what we were swimming, our celebrity crush and something interesting about ourselves. Once we were all finished it was then time for the blindfold and headphones game. You stick the blindfold on and turn the headphones up as loud as they go and sing! Someone controls the music and your goal is to sing to the best of your ability. With both of these on you can't hear or see a thing. You end up singing really loud and really off key but it was so much fun and we all laughed a lot.
After a quick team meeting ending with a cheer it was time for practice number two. This was more of a meet warmup/work in your starts kind of deal. By the time it was over I felt excited and ready to race! We have one more day to go so we headed back to the hotel and ate some delicious food. Bed could not come quickly enough.
Everyone is having such an amazing time and we are all connecting so much as a team. Cannot see what the next week will bring!!
Today was our first full day together as Team USA in Dubai. We started the day with a mix of dishes including stir fried noodles and burritos. Leaving the hotel and the city behind we drove into the desert. As we drove through the rolling sand dunes we passed herds of camels strolling along the side of the highway. When we got to the pool, we gathered together and did a team stretch and cheer. Then we broke off into our training groups and continued our warm ups. After we all changed, we walked through what we would be doing before our races. Which included the suit check room and the ready room, and after our races the media mixed zone. When we left the pool five us went on a bus with the Turkish junior national team. As we rode back to the hotel the Turkish team talked to us and they told us about their training and their lives in Turkey. After lunch we had a meeting about the meet and how to prepare. For the second time we went to the Hamden Sports Complex, which sits in the middle of the desert. At night we got back in the pool and focused mostly on the details of our races leading into the competition. Our night ended with dinner back at the hotel and a meeting with the guys team.
- Connor Green
Hello from Dubai! Today is the first full day here for our team. This morning's breakfast had some crazy options, including a vegetable stir fry! The craziest thing I ate was my first piece of dragonfruit (it tastes a little bit like kiwi).
After breakfast, we had the first practice of the day. I'm in the sprint group and we have six guys and three girls with two great coaches!! Lunch, like the rest of our meals, is served buffet style with a bunch of other countries, including Australia, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, and more.
This afternoon the girls team did our first bonding and we have such a great team here. I already love them all. When we headed back to the pool for the second swim of the day, all the other teams stopped and stared at us in our cool gear. The presence Team USA has on deck is incredible. Tonight at dinner the Australians walked in with just hotel robes on and they sang happy birthday to Jay Litherland. He is one of three birthdays on this trip. We are currently decorating the team room back at the hotel as a huge group and loving the time before the meet starts. Go USA!!
- Mimi Schneider
Day One - The Team Arrives in Dubai
Day one is in the books. The flight left us all pretty tired as to be expected. Many of us could only get upwards of an hour of straight sleep, but luckily we had plenty of movies to help occupy us for the twelve-hour flight. Upon landing, it was easy to tell we were in the desert. The 103 degree temperature made today a rather mild summer day for Dubai. Adjusting to the time change will be challenging but not enough to stop team USA.
- Justin Lynch
On Thursday morning at 6:45 a.m., my flight left from Orange County. From there, we flew to Houston then to D.C. Shortly after landing in D.C., we had a team meeting to discuss how to handle the long flight. We boarded the huge plane and walked past the first class beds. Just walking to our seats felt like forever because the plane was so big! After we took off, some people slept and some stayed up to talk. We received our dinner and the flight staff took great care of us! During the flight, some people slept, some watched movies, and some did both. Once we began our descent into Dubai, it felt like we had been on there for almost three weeks! We went through a passport check then customs. After that, we got our luggage and learned just how hot Dubai was when we walked to our bus. From the airport, we went straight to the pool and did a team warm-up before splitting into groups. After practice we got some snacks then rode back to the hotel where we ate dinner. Following dinner, we had a team meeting discussing tomorrow's plan. When we walked out of dinner, we got a bird's-eye view of a traditional Arabic wedding with loud music and dancing! Then everyone went off to their rooms to unpack and settle in.
- Katie McLaughlin