Thursday marked the last day of practice in Indianapolis before a team of Olympic hopefuls headed overseas to qualify for the summer games. We are now 112 days away from the Opening Ceremony in London. For the women's synchronized swimming team, time to qualify is running out.
Not one of them is a Hoosier, but the entire USA Synchronized Swimming team moved here in January 2011 and adopted the diving well at the IUPUI natatorium as home base. A sponsorship with St. Vincent Sports Performance Center helped make the move more attractive.
The teams leave for Dublin this Sunday to prepare for the Olympic trials which start in London April 18th.
Elizabeth Simonson with the sport's national governing body told Eyewitness News, "They are really working hard and their hopes are high so we are crossing our fingers and hoping that they do well."
They will compete in team and duet competitions. There are nine team members and one alternate. The team competition consists of a technical and free program, both of which run up to four minutes in length.
When the athletes are glitzed up, their suits are shiny. The use waterproof makeup covered with Vaseline or Chapstick to stay in place. But Coach Mayu Fujiki hopes judges first notice that they are performing with heart.
"The first thing I want to express with what they do is energy from the very beginning to the end, because we don't have anything to lose. We just have to do the best we can," said Fujiki.
Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva hope to land a duet entry for Team USA.
"We are hopeful and confident," said Killman.
They say the teams calls them MK². Their initials and their birthdays are similar, and so too their desire to land in the top 18 spots to qualify.
"This will really be our first time to set our ranking as a duet on the world stage because before our second place ranking was at the Pan American games. But all the countries in the world were not there," said Koroleva.
The athletes can hold their breath for up to two and a half minutes, but Koroleva says the sport is evolving to measure so much more.
"It's not necessarily how long you are underwater but it's like how many movements are you doing. The faster you are moving, the harder it is so the more impressive it looks," she explained.
And despite the degree of difficulty, the athletes say they must always, always smile big so even those in the last row can see.
"You just have to be over the top not only with your face but with your body language as well," said Koroleva.
It's big smiles that all the USA women hope come naturally when the points are totaled and the teams headed to London are finalized.
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