These past two weeks have been extremely busy for our team. From June 8th-17th we were in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the World League Super Finals. We started out strong but faded in our last two matches against Italy and Croatia. Several members of our team were struggling with stomach illness throughout the tournament, and in our Bronze Medal game we were missing three guys in our starting line-up. But in the end we learned a lot on that trip. Losing by only one goal in both matches (considering the negative health experiences we were dealing with) let us know that we can only be stronger in the future.
After finishing the tournament in Almaty, we traveled to Budva, Montenegro to train with the Montenegrin Olympic team. We started the trip off with a team-building boat ride on the Adriatic Sea—we went cliff jumping and diving in the famous Blue Cave, and explored Mamula and other nearby islands. It was a much- needed break and more importantly a great opportunity for us to really relax and bond.
We also continued to train twice a day and scrimmaged six quarters every night. We did a pretty good job playing against the Montenegrins (the European Silver Medalists) and we were able to work on some key defensive and offensive tactics.
On the last day of the trip, coach Terry announced the official 2012 Olympic Team. There will be three first time Olympians on the team (Shea Buckner, Chay Lapin and John Mann) but we also lost 2008 Silver Medalist JW Krumpholz. The toughest thing about losing a teammate is that you spend so much time together that it feels like losing a family member. JW was a critical part of our run in Beijing and I am sure he will continue to be an important part of Team USA in the future.
In the end, after these last two weeks, I am positive that our team has a chance to bring home the first Gold for water polo in USA history. We are a strong team with heart, motivation and exceptional unity!