#11 ⇢ The Two Coaches Who Changed My Life

In my 17 years as a synchronized swimmer I had the opportunity to work with dozens of coaches, trainers and consultants. All of them contributed to my success in one way or another, but two of them made a significant and profound impact on my career. I think it’s important to recognize the people that helped you achieve your goals and I hope that this post will shed some light on how one or two people can change the course of your life for the better. Coaches are such influential people in an athlete’s life and can either enhance your experience as an athlete, or have an equally significant negative impact. The two coaches I want to tell you about today played a crucial role at different points in my synchro career and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

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#10 ⇢ Olympian Spotlight: Andrea Fuentes (ESP)

Andrea Fuentes is a 4-time Olympic medalist, 16-time World Championship medalist and 16-time European Championship medalist from Spain. She is now the head coach of the U.S. Senior National Team. Andrea and I competed against each other at the London 2012 Olympic Games (but let’s be honest, she is in a whole different category of greatness). Her story is so inspiring and shows that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish things that you never thought possible.

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#9 ⇢ On Finding Yourself After Sport

When you do a sport for 10+ years, it becomes a part of your identity. For 17 years of my life, I was a synchronized swimmer. And suddenly, the day after we finished competing in Rio in 2016, I wasn’t.

A lot of people struggle to find themselves after they retire from competitive sports, and I am no exception. I knew that Rio would be my last Olympics and that I would retire afterwards, but I still had a hard time redefining my identity now that I wasn’t an elite athlete anymore. When used to sit next to someone on the plane and they would ask “What do you do?” I would say that I am a synchronized swimmer training full time. As of September 2016, I had no idea what to say!

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#8 ⇢ On Supporting a Teammate Through a Hard Time

When I was on the National Team, and especially during the 2012 Olympic year I went through several difficult situations outside of synchro that really affected my mental state in a negative way. I’m going to do a separate post about 2012 because I want to share the story that not many people know. During that year, and many other times, I felt very alone and unsupported. I had my family and non-synchro friends who I knew were there for me, but often times I felt like my teammates turned a blind eye to what I was going through. In synchro, your team is your family, and I think it’s so important to be able to support your teammates when they are going through something, whether you know the details of what’s going on or not.

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#7 ⇢ Olympian Spotlight: Karine Thomas (CAN)

#7 ⇢ Olympian Spotlight: Karine Thomas (CAN)

Karine Thomas (CAN) tells us about the challenges she faced in her synchro career, her two Olympic experiences, and what she has been doing after retirement.

Karine and I competed against each other at several competitions, including the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games and the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Karine started doing synchro in Canada at the age of 10 and by the time she was 13 years old she had already moved away from home to better her synchro career. At 16 she was a part of the Canadian Junior National Team and immediately after competing at her first international competition (2006 Junior World Championships) she was recruited to be on the senior roster and competed on the elite level until her retirement in 2017.

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