BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Cardio and strength training probably aren't typically associated with ping pong, or table tennis. But if you're as good as the Indiana University table tennis team, staying fit is a must.
"People don't realize because for the beginner level, it's a pretty slow game," said junior table tennis player Gal Alguetti. "But once you get to the higher level of playing, if you're not strong enough, that's going to hurt you big time."
The IU table tennis team may be the best team on campus most of the student body doesn't know about.
"This is the first time in history that IU is going to the NCTTA National Championships," said head coach Luke Gillespie. "This is the best squad that we've ever had at IU."
The team is headed for a historic weekend, and they're anchored by some of the nation's best.
"We really hope we can medal — if not win the whole thing — and it's largely due to the two brothers here," Gillespie said.
Sharon and Gal Alguetti are twins.
"Currently we're in ranked 5 and 6 in the country," Gal said.
They certainly didn't luck into any success.
“Since like 7 years old, almost every day we played table tennis," Sharon said.
They fell in love with the sport overseas.
"Originally, we are from Israel," Gal said. "We migrated to the U.S. when we were 9 years old."
Always playing with and pushing each other.
"There always will be like a slight competition between us, and that keeps us driven and keeps us motivated," Gal said. "Having not just a training partner, but a coach or your best friend with you throughout this whole journey is really a great thing to have."
It's a journey reaching its pinnacle this weekend.
"We have a lot of opportunities to bring something home," Sharon said. "This is an amazing opportunity for both of us and for the whole team."
The NCTTA Championships take place in Round Rock, Texas. Competition begins Friday and wraps up Sunday.
Table tennis is not a varsity sport, so it's not funded by Indiana University. The team will pay its way to the tournament this weekend.
Anyone who would like to donate funds to help pay for travel and lodging, visit the team's GoFundMe page.