Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Our first Game

With the London Games well and truly underway we have been very busy preparing for our first game against the Italians. Like us, the Aussie Sharks also drew the Italians as their first game. We were lucky enough to be able to take the time to head out to support the boys. Which was great for us as we were able to take in the venue, the size of the crowd and be able to get a feel of what our games may be like. The boys fought well but were unlucky to go down 8-5 in the end. 

After watching the boys game you could see a number of our first timers starting to feel the nerves. We had 24hrs until our game, 2 training session and 1 tactical meeting. We were almost there. There was excitement in the air as we knew all our friends and family would be there or watching back home and we had spent hours upon hours preparing for this game and were raring to play.
We left the Village and headed to the pool. Here we proceeded with our usual warm up and we were starting to get back into our usual routine. The nerves were at an all time high during the line up. But our team was prepared for this and we were itching to get the game started. We came out well with a 4-1 lead early. But with a few defensive errors it saw us level with the Italians at half time.

We stepped up our game and came out strong in the 3rd quarter with 4 unanswered goals (8-4). The last quarter saw the Italians throw in everything but we came away with the win at 10-8. It was a great team game, lots of good team goals. Looking forward to our next game against the hosts, Great Britain. So back to more training and video sessions.

Needless to say that our down time is mostly spent in front of the TV watching our fellow Aussies compete. Including some of the second half of the Kookaburras game where they smashed South Africa, the heart breaking loss of the Opals to France in over time, plus plenty of swimming and diving!! 

Thanks to all the support coming across the sea from Australia, as well as all the supporters in the crowd.... You're fantastic!! Keep it up! 

Friday, 27 July 2012

Selfie Expert Holly!

Selfie taken by Holly.... Love it!!!

Never a dull moment

Phew, the last few days have really flown by. Yesterday we had 2 training session, the official flag raising ceremony plus the Aussie Team Reception. All of which were very exciting. As not only are we apart of the Stingers we are also apart of the Australian Olympic Team in its entirety. The British put on a superb performance, lots of theatrics. We then headed to dinner and I got to sit down and have a chat with Laurie Lawrence and Chris Fydler. After dinner we headed to the team reception, hosted at the the Stratford City Westfield's. 

With a massive entrance to Waltzing Matilda with some Aussie fans screaming, and into the reception room. What an entrance!!! Here all the team will gather for the announcement of the flag bearer. Here we got to chat with the likes of Geoff Huegill, Grant Hackett, Dawn Fraser, Rove Mcmanus, Giaan Rooney, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, James Tomkins, John Farnham plus many many more. And, or course, dance to some of Johnie's classics. Lauren Jackson was announced as the 2012 Aussie Flag bearer, a well deserved honour. Also got to catch up with some of the past w.polo Olympians, Suzie Fraser, Amy Hetzel and Deb Watson. An amazing night, probably my favourite event at the Games!

Today is Opening Ceremony day..... fingers crossed the weather holds and we can walk. This morning we headed out early to catch the underground into the city to the Churchill War Rooms. Here we had some team photos in our cozzies... yeek! Got a lot of public attention, photos and had a ball. Plus one of our goalies, Macca, got to finally reunite with her partner after he finished his 6 month tour with the Navy. It is also our other goalie Veeb's birthday today... Happy Birthday Veebs!!! We got to sing and have cake in the Village dining hall. Never a dull moment. Photos should be out later this week...


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Arrivederci Varese… Allo’ London

Arrivederci Varese… Allo’ London

In our final week of preparation before heading off to London we were really cracking down on our tactics with video sessions and game analysis plus making sure our physical fitness was in tiptop shape. We also got some timeout on one of the days for a team outing to Lago Maggiore. It just so happened that we picked up a hitchhiker on the way and it turned out to be none other than Steve Waugh. With our entire team in tow plus Mr Waugh we were ready to brave the precarious 'bucket' on a wire to reach to top of the mountain. Luckily only a few of us were not good with heights.

             Thanks Miss Lincoln-Smith for completely blocking me, hoping someone has a better copy...

Upon our arrival at the top we were greeted with phenomenal views. It was here that we got down to the nitty and gritty that make up our team, and with declarations from the heart we were finally prepared for the road we will have to journey down to Olympic glory. Steve added some inspiring words and imparted some of his much valued knowledge. Finally with our last training session done, a 2 and a half hour hell session, we were very excited to head off to London.

 Arrived in the Village around midnight and were up the next day at 7am as we had uniform fittings, a little media, training and our induction and welcome meetings. It just so happend that Hamish and Andy were visiting the village in preparation for the channel 9 coverage and sat in on our induction done by Laurie Lawrence and Nick Green, with Steve Waugh, John Eales, Layne Beachley and Kieren Perkins all in attendance. With a few jokes here or there courtesy of the boys, it was a very inspiring and touching induction.  

Today we are finally setting into a routine and I am very much looking forward to the flag raising ceremony and the team reception. Fingers crossed the weather stays good and we are able to walk in the opening ceremony. Thanks for all the best wishes!!! I am hoping to have some sort of update every second day.

*** Thanks for the photos team, p.s. keep em coming! ***

Monday, 16 July 2012

Varese Week One

One week down.... One week to go.

Our first week in Varese has seen us battered and bruised. Our sessions have been extremely hard, with little down time during the day. Blue skies and good weather has helped us keep a positive attitude. We have also had the opportunity to catch up with some other sports (such as rowing, sailing and canoe/kayak) to see where they are in their preparation and how everything is going. The ETC ('European Training Center) set up and run by the AIS is fantastic. This training center offers us gym, recovery and treatment facilities, as well as the much needed WiFi. Not to mention its gorgeous lake side location. 

We were lucky to arrive in time to be able to attend a presentation at the ETC. Michael Groom completed the "big five" (five highest mountains in the world) without the assistance of oxygen in 1999.  Four of which he climbed without the front third of both feet. Very inspiring and unbelievable achievements!

Training Pool on the upper right of the park map

With many sessions leaving us crawling out of the pool totally exhausted we welcomed our day off on Sunday (15th). This gave us the opportunity to take in some rays and satisfy our various shopping addictions in town. Perhaps a coffee or gelati was on the menu as well. Varese is situated 55km north of Milan, with a collection of lakes and snow capped mountains separating Italy and Switzerland. Cobbled stone streets and colourful building in the city center, provided the perfect back drop for our rest day. 

But all good things must come to an end. Monday is here and its right back into another hard week of training. It will be our last week before flying off to London.  

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Can You Feel The Heat

First stop on our road to London sees us landing in Tivat, Montenegro after an excessive amount of traveling. Singapore to Frankfurt to Belgrade to Tivat, with a 8 hour stopover in Frankfurt. There’s nothing like setting up a trolley bag camp in the middle of a busy airport. Upon finally landing in Tivat we were welcome by a gust of hot air and a setting sun over the majestic landscape. After spending 3 weeks in China and 2 weeks in freezing Canberra this was a welcome backdrop to our upcoming training camp.

With the mercury getting up well into the late 30’s it was needless to say we were very glad to be staying by the water. With everything at our fingertips we headed into a hard week of training, which included 3 training games against a junior Montenegro boys team. Needless to say these boys definitely gave us a run for our money. The games were fast paced they weren’t backing down, but then neither were we. During this week we had one day to take part in the tourist side of things, with only weights to be completed that morning.

A boat tour was organised, which included trips to places like the Blue Grotto and the Kanli Kula fortress just to name a few (pic of map). While stocking up on vitamin D we were able to relax and have some fun including a relaxing dip in the Adriatic Sea. The water was warm and a beautiful clear blue. Absolutely amazing! From 9am till 8pm we were out in the 38 degree heat doing the ‘tourist’ thing, enjoying what Montenegro had to offer. But at the end of the day we were all worn out and ready for some zzzz’s.

More days of hard training, clear skies and scorching heat followed. But none of us were complaining, as majority of our tours don’t find us staying on the water in a ‘resort’ type village. We were living it up. The week came to an end, we packed up all our gear and ventured onwards to Italy, Verese, inching ever closer to our Olympic destination. 

Thanks for the photos team.