Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Aussies have arrived in London

We have well and truly left the beaches of Montenegro and the lakes of Italy behind, and have landed in sunny (yes, it was actually 32 degrees on our first day here) London.  We arrived late, received our accreditation, and hit up the food hall at midnight.  We checked in to our homes for the next 3 weeks, and hit the hay under our special edition London Olympic doona covers.  Our first day had an early start to head to the uniform distribution centre for a full fitting of the Sportscraft formal attire, the unbelievably cool Dunlop Volleys, the complete Adidas deck out, and the Speedo suits and robes.  All of the uniform filled two bags, and most of our rooms, shown below

Some famous people were floating around.  I scored some happy snaps with Venus and Serena Williams, Lauren Jackson, Lawrie Lawrence and our Athlete Liaison Officers Layne Beachley and Steve Waugh.  I spotted Kieren Perkins and John Eales but am yet to strike a pose with them. Some very non-sporting people by the names of Hamish and Andy also made an appearance and welcomed the Aussie athletes (after Andy was escorted out of the village and escaped back into it).

We have the Australian Team Ceremony and then the Opening Ceremony, so a very hectic couple of days.  We have also managed to get some hard training in at the Olympic venue – quite a surreal experience knowing that the empty seats will be filled to capacity in a weeks time.

A feature in recent weeks was on the Australian Olympic Committee website.  When we got fitted for our Olympic uniform and completed all the required documentation for the AOC we got to do a filmed interview.  Now if you’re concerned with Kermit the Frog’s mention, just ask anyone born in the 80’s, or parents of people born in the 80’s for that matter, and I’m sure it can be explained.  The interview is at this link AOC feature

Til next time

Monday, 16 July 2012

We're training...I promise!

We have swapped one exotic European training location for another. And with that we swapped 40 degree heat for 30 degrees, pebble stone, umbrella covered beaches with lakes and cycling tracks, potato and spinach staples with PIZZA…(only occasionally). Our last few days in Budva, Montenegro included training games against a Montenegrin junior men’s team. These were some very intense games and very different to playing women…let’s just say we made no friends J

We are now based in the lakes region of northern Italy, just outside the beautiful town of Varese.  It is very popular with cyclists as there are many mountain climbs - we can see the snow capped Alps of Switzerland in the distance. This area also appealed to the Australian Institute of Sport, as they have recently completed their European base, the AIS European Training Centre (ETC).  It is currently at full capacity housing the Australian rowing team, so the water polo team is sharing a nearby hotel with the Australian Canoe/Kayak team.  We all use the gym facilities at the AIS ETC, as well as the recovery centre (we’re we do spa and plunge pool), the dining hall and meeting rooms. 

We have just commenced our third week of very hard training, and I have been copping some flack that a lot of the photos I am posting are more conducive to holidaymakers than Olympic preparations.  Well our physiologist has been travelling with us, and hence we have to wear heart rate monitors to each session. We hook these into special crop-tops where a battery is secured to our backs so the coaches have a live feed of this information.  Last session I recorded 12 minutes at above 95% of my max heart rate…you’ll have to take my word for it, but at least above is a “training” photo.

My team mates Sophie Smith, Bronwen Knox and I featured in the Westside News recently (I’m the shorty in the centre) - 

Another feature in the press, in Wednesday’s The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) was our captain, Kate Gynther in the “Road to London” series.  I’m not sure if the newspaper knows, but they didn’t capture Kate in the photo, but those are my mean eyes!! 

At training last week we were welcomed by quite a few Australian television news crews.  Some of the girls were thrilled to be interviewed by Peter Stefanovic…mainly to have a connection to Carl, but Peter was great.  Below is a link to the ABC feature on the Stingers…and some footage of hard training for those sceptics out there ABC News footage here

Until next time

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Montenegrin Leg

The calm before the storm…well our last week at home before our Olympic tour departure was supposed to be a relaxing time, but between our hectic training schedule, photo shoots at the pool, the Today Show appearance and interviews with Campbell Newman, we were left needing a bit of R&R.  Nothing an eight hour stopover at Frankfurt Airport can’t cure. 

So perk #1 of being an Olympian – we all got to spend this mammoth stopover in the QANTAS Club – thanks QANTAS!

When we were on our last tour our Olympian ‘action’ shots were released by Australian Water Polo (AWPI) through Pearse Photography.  Also whilst we were away I was featured with the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Water Polo squad on Channel 10’s Totally Wild.  It’s a cool little story, and many thanks goes to Jess Meares (Totally Wild host) for organising.  The clip is at the below link, and the water polo story begins at 4 minutes 58 seconds (I haven’t been counting J)

We have now arrived in Budva, Montenegro.  We are spending 10 days training here before we head to Varese, Italy for another training camp and then off to the OLYMPICS. Which reminds me, AWPI have released the AWPI Official London Olympic Newsletter – “On The Ball”. Details here

Being excited about training in summer is an understatement.  I came very prepared…the Reef Oil has made a reappearance!  Don’t worry, they now come in SPF 30+, 15+, 8+ and 0, as it was in the 90’s.  I’m thinking the Montenegrin sun requires 15+ (doctors and parents can disregard that last comment). We we’re allowed one day of playing tourist with an organised boat cruise of the surrounding harbours.  It was a fabulous day with lots of relaxing, sight seeing, and even a swim in the Montenegrin version of the ‘Blue Grotto’.

Until next time

Farewell Brisbane

I do have some very special mentions of people that made our last week at home that much better:

Dan Lewis, Jeremy Kilvington & Nigel at Bravo Wine Bar for organising our Olympic farewell event
- Debbie White of White Retail for donating some beautiful cosmetic prizes
- Mel at Naudic for the gorgeous clothing pack