Maria Koroleva and Mary Killman are synchronized swimmers, representing the United States and competing together in the duet event at the 2012 summer Olympic Games.
Adding to the pressure of being Olympic competitors, Koroleva and Killman are the only American synchronized swimmers who will be in London.
For the first time ever, the U.S. team failed to qualify. Recently they spoke with Aquatics International about synchronized swimming and going for the gold!
Q: How did you first get involved in synchro?
Maria: Walnut Creek, Calif. [where I grew up] has a big synchro club. I got a flyer one day and decided to try it.
Mary: I actually started in competitive swimming, at about age four or five. I had a friend who got involved in [synchro] and she invited me to an exhibition. I kind of fell in love with it there. I was 11.
Q: What do you love most about your sport?
Maria: I can’t pinpoint one thing. It’s so unique. It combines all different aspects — athletics, artistic qualities — and we’re trying to do something most people can’t even do on land. I feel like the sport also teaches you so much about life, discipline, hard work.
Mary: The music. We’re able to show what we think the music looks like. It’s a performance sport and we’re able to interpret the music the way we want too.
Q: I understand that as a duet team you spent A LOT of time together training and you also live together. What has a typical day been like?
Mary: We train about eight to 10 hours a day. Morning workout starts at about 8 … our days are pretty long!
Q: What do you like to do to relax?
Maria: Read, catch up with friends on the computer … even going to the grocery store is a break!
Mary: I use music to relax. I’ll also do extra cardio and run.
Q: So … what are your thoughts on competing in the Olympics?
Mary: It’s exciting! This is both our first games. It’s a little bit on the stressful side too, because we’re the only ones representing our country.
Maria: The experience has definitely not been easy. I’m expecting it to be really overwhelming with so many things going on. But I think it’s also going to be really cool! I’m so excite to compete and show what we’ve got.
Killman is originally from Texas. She and Koroleva teamed up last year and won the silver medal at the Pan American Games in October 2011, their first competition together.
Koroleva is a Russian native with U.S. citizenship. She moved to California with her family as a child and has taken a year off from her studies at Stanford University to pursue her Olympic dream.
The London Aquatic Centre was built for the Olympic games this summer, but designed to stand the test of time.
- Slideshow: The Aquatic Centre
- Pushing for Gold
Take a closer look at the new Aquatic Centre.
Swimmer Jessica Hardy dishes on training, trials and triumphs leading up to London 2012.