We are finally settled down in the Village and ready for the Games. The Village is great—I have a nice big room with a view. The food at the dining hall is amazing and divided up into different categories including British, African, Mediterranean, Italian, Asian & Indian.
We have also been through outfitting, and I have to say that this is the best gear we have ever received: four bags full of 28 Nike and Ralph Lauren sweatshirts, 18 T-shirts, nine pairs of shorts, seven pairs of sweatpants, five pairs of shoes, one pair of sandals and another P&G bag full of any necessity item you could ever think of. It took us five hours just to be assigned all of our stuff!
We had our first training in the competition pool at the Official Stadium, but then we headed to Varazdin, Croatia because we needed more pool time than we could get in London. Varazdin is a really small town, and we just concentrated on training hard with the Croatians for five full practices—we beat them in some games and lost others.
After Croatia, we hopped on a bus to Budapest, Hungary, where we had three trainings with the reigning Gold Medalists. We played well and it was a good time to refocus and prepare ourselves before our first competition games. Budapest is famous for its spas, so our team spent the final day doing an “Olympic Spa”, which entails hitting up every pool and steam/sauna room available. The true test was who could do a 10 minute steam session, then a 15 minute cold bath, and then go back to the sauna and back to the cold bath again!
Now we are back in London, and to sum it up, we are recovered and ready to play. We took the morning off today and have our first scrimmage in the competition pool tomorrow. It is always good to get a feel for the venue and play a little in the official pool before it counts. We are not used to playing in such a big arena so we even need to adjust to simple things like the lighting.
Tonight we have a team dinner with just the players. This is a tradition that began in Beijing and that we have repeated every year since. The goal is to separate from the staff and the Olympic chaos and open up amongst ourselves. We are going to an old Pub called The Gun in Stratford that is supposed to have great traditional British food.
I will write another update soon with more news and also send along some pictures. Thanks to everyone for their support—we’re almost there!