Results were as follows:
July 4th @ The US National Training Facility- Los Alamitos, Ca 13-12
July 6th @ Coggan Aquatic Center- La Jolla, Ca 12-11
July 8th @ Coronado High School- San Diego, Ca 12-6
July 10th @ Avery Aquatics Center- Stanford University, Palo Alto, Ca 7-5
Playing every other day, the line-up of games was designed to simulate the schedule that we will have once we start our competition in China. Play a game. Have a day off to fine tune what is needed for the next game and maybe rest a little. Play again.
This schedule was adopted in 2003 at World Championships in Barcelona. Before, games were played everyday. The women playing one week, followed by the men's competition the next. (At the Sydney Olympic Games we played 5 round robin games, a semi, and a final-and were finished in the first week of the Games) But too many times one of the semi-final games went into overtime, then sudden death, having a match last well past the usual hour long time period. Leaving those two teams exhausted. Only to have them turn around the next day and play a team, in a medal round game, who had played a regulation length game the day before. A little unfair they thought. So now we play every other day, alternating men's and women's matches until the end of the Games.
Our last game up at Stanford was particularly special for me. Being in Northern California, it was one of the rare occasions that I got to play close to home! (Home is in Orinda-East Bay Area) Which also meant that my family and friends were in the stands to cheers us on!!!!
But so were 2,985 other folks!!!! The largest crowd EVER for a Women's Water Polo Game in the US!!!!!! With the record-breaking crowd, the television cameras all over place(NBC filmed the game for a National broadcast), and other Olympic athletes in the stands to cheer us on (the USA Swim Team was training at Avery as well-yes, I mean Michael Phelps.) this was as close to experiencing a game in China as we were going to get. Perfect preparation for next month. Thank you to the Stanford Club team for making that game happen. It was awesome.
My Brother, his wife Susie, and my nephew Conor made the trip down from Seattle to see the game. And brought along some of Sus's family to see their first water polo game. We successfully acquired new fans.
I got to stay home after the game and spend some quality time holding Conor and hang out with my family before I returned to Long beach for these last weeks of training. There is something about Home and being around my family that rejuvenates me like nothing else does. I know the next time I see Conor, in about two months, he will probably already have a cell phone and be driving, he is growing so fast. So every moment counts. Especially the ones where he is asleep and looking like an angel. :)