Cheers Pistachio and Water Polo Fans! Or should I say, Nehao! We’ve just returned from Changshu, China where we were competing in the World League Super Final. The World League tournament was established in 2004 as a semi-major tournament to occur each year, mostly for the purpose of allowing all of the major teams to play one another before the major tournament of the summer, which in our case happens to be the Olympic Games! But in other years it will take place prior to a World Championships or a World Cup. It is an eight-team tournament and each team must qualify regionally, so this year we faced off against China, Italy, Greece, Russia, Australia, Germany, and Canada. We came home with the gold, taking our fourth title in four years winning a tight final against the Aussies, 6-4.
As you might imagine, China can be a little bit of a difficult place to travel for competition. Because it is on the other side of the world (yes, that means a 14-15 hour flight each way), it often takes us quite a bit of time to get acclimated—sleeping full nights can be a challenge for up to a week or more. Also the food options we are offered can often be very different from what we might eat in a normal day at home, requiring us to take extra care to bring some of the snacks and treats we are used to having in our daily routine. Luckily, we received a brand new order of pistachios right before we left, so into our luggage it went alongside protein powder, granola bars, pop tarts and fruit strips. I packed some snack-sized bags of the pistachios just to have for a snack on the airplane and in my training backpack (for the long bus rides pre and post workout), but also made a mixture of shucked pistachios, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, dried apricots and carob chips for a little fruit and nut mixture to get a little extra dose of some essential nutrients and vitamins on the trip.
And for now we are home training hard as the momentum towards the London Games continues to build. In early July we will host a series of games against Hungary on our home turf in California. Between July 2nd and July 8th we will play four games, the last of which will be televised for all of you to see!! Check out the USA Water Polo website for the details!! And until the next time, thanks to all of our many many supporters, we could never do it without you! GO USA!