The U.S. Olympic women's water polo team left the national training center in Los Alamitos, Calif. on Sunday to fly to London. Annika Dries gives us an inside look at what one of the squad's days were like during its last week of training in the States.
6:00 a.m.: Wake up. Eat some oatmeal with a scoop of almond butter.
7:00 a.m.: First practice of the day: weights and conditioning. You need to be strong to play this sport. First, we lift weights until about 8:30 a.m., doing back squats, front squats, box jumps, pull ups… you name it. I grab a recovery bar to eat and head to the locker room to get my swimsuit on. We swim, do endless leg drills, and pass and shoot. It's conditioning for us to get used to playing even when we think we've got nothing left.
10:30 a.m.: Brunch. It's recovery meal time. I usually make an egg scramble with spinach, goat cheese, and red bell pepper. Or a turkey sandwich with avocado. I pair one of those with a fruit smoothie with some whey protein.
11:00 a.m.: Relax time. Depending on the morning workout and what day of the week it is, I'll take a little nap, and watch a show or read. It's good to have a little break for our minds and bodies before the second practice.
12:45 p.m.: Coffee and snack time. Sometimes I'll go to Peet's and get an iced coffee to get ready for the second practice. It's good to grab a little something to eat about an hour before we get in the water, or else I won't last until 4:30!
1:30 p.m. Arrive at the pool. We stretch, watch video, and do a walk through. Our second practice is more like a game. We usually have about 30 minutes to stretch and watch video related to our practice to mentally prepare.
2:00 p.m.: Hit the water! We zipper our suits on, with our faces caked in sunscreen, zinc, and even baby diaper cream! Anything to keep the rays out. My go-to is pink Zinka: it's fun, stays on through all the contact, and smells like coconut!
2:00-4:30 p.m.: This is when we prepare for our opponents, going for it against each other up and down the pool for over two hours, working on perfecting our offense and defense. Fridays are the most intense competition days. We scrimmage each other for six quarters. It gets pretty heated -- we are a competitive group of people!
5:30 p.m. Dinner time. Back to eating! I usually have steak or chicken with some type of salad or vegetable (my favorite are string beans!) and pasta or rice. I buy stuff at Trader Joe's during the week, and I always leaves that store with too many groceries. I love that place! But, we also like our Taco Tuesdays out at a local taco shop. It's fun to go eat with a few teammates, or even make dinner together.
6:30 p.m.: Rest and Recover. This is our short down time for hanging out with the team, family, or friends.
9 p.m.: Get some sleep!