(Cue Olympic music)
Jess: Welcome, everyone to our first day of competition of the 2016 Dollympics. We are your hosts, Jess and Lea. As you can probably guess by the fish you see above, today is all about swimming. I am looking forward to it because I love to swim.
Lea: I’m still a little apprehensive about water and waves but maybe these swimmers will inspire me to get wet.
Jess: I know one girl who will definitely be an inspiration to you. She’s not only the youngest swimmer to compete in these Dollympic games but she’s our youngest Dollympian ever! She’s waiting right outside. Come meet seven year old Fanny Euro.
Lea: Hi Fanny, thanks for coming to talk to us. So, you are the youngest athlete to compete in these games. Does that put a ton of pressure on you to be as good as the veterans?
Fanny: Not really, I just swim because I love it. I enjoy spending 10 hours a day in the pool. And since my mom home-schools me, I can actually do that.
Lea: Wow, 10 hours a day. That is dedication! How many years have you been swimming?
Fanny: My mom loves to swim just as much as I do. She was a competitive swimmer in her day too. She’s actually still a Master’s swimmer now. She got me loving the water when I was a baby. I guess I’ve been swimming my whole entire life.
Lea: Yeah, I think we even managed to steal a photo of you as a baby in the pool with your mom. Can we show that, please?
Fanny: Oh, my gosh! Yeah, that’s me wearing the floaties.
Lea: Aw, you are so cute. But now, you are going to compete in the individual 50 meter freestyle competition, is that correct?
Fanny: Yes, that’s my favorite stroke and one I’ve been working really hard on. I just have to focus on my own race, take my turns tight and fast and have a good race.
Lea: Do you have any medal goals?
Fanny: Of course that’s something I dream about, but if I even make the podium today, I will be thrilled. And if I don’t, well, there’s always next time and I’ll be older, taller, and even better then!
Lea: Well, best of luck to you.
Fanny: Thank you. (Fanny leaves)
Lea: From the youngest, we now go to the oldest competitor on the scene. Hello, Addy Walker.
Addy: Hello, Lea, it’s great to be here.
Lea: You have been on the competitive circuit for many years now, and have won so many times. Might this be your last Dollympics?
Addy: I have been here a while, but I’m not going to say this will be my last Dollympics. I truly enjoy swimming so much and I’m just going to keep pushing and pushing until my body flops out.
Lea: Well, we hope that won’t happen for a long time because we love watching you compete. Who do you think will give you the biggest competition in this freestyle race?
Addy: Definitely Tanya Gutierrez. She is an incredible swimmer and I have the privilege of sharing the same coach and facility as her, and we even train together many times. She has such incredibly long arms and legs and she sure uses them to her advantage.
Lea: Well you are really setting us up for a truly exciting race. Lets get down to the pool to see it!
Jess: Lea and I are now at the Dollquatic Center and ready to give you the Individual 50 Meter Freestyle competition. Let’s introduce our competitors.
Lea: First up is Tanya Gutierrez who does indeed have those long arms and legs that allow her to become a surfboard in the water.
Jess: Yeah, She has such a long glide when she swims, her arms just skim the water like what you said, a surfboard! I don’t even think she works nearly as hard as the other swimmers!
Lea: And her training partner and friend, Addy Walker.
Jess: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Addy in those braids before. They look so adorable!
Lea: Addy mentioned she was going to have to keep Tanya under her eye at all times and not let her get too much ahead of her in the front part of the race. Addy has a great back half.
Jess: Our next competitor is Jamie Effner. She’s a newer swimmer in this competitive field but she’s already won some major events. I heard her goal is to someday break a world record in backstroke.
Lea: And finally we have adorable Fanny Euro. She is just such a sweet girl, and very humble too.
Jess: Yeah, it’s great that she knows her limits but is willing and wanting to push herself hard to become a winner.
Announcer: Take your marks….
Leah: What a great start off the blocks from Jamie and Addy.
Jess: And look how long Addy stays under water compared to everyone else, long past the flags.
Lea: This is always such a short race because it’s only one length!
Jess: Oh, wow, Addy and Tanya are so close….
And it’s Addy! By nine hundredths of a second!
Lea: Wow, what a close race. Well, we knew it was going to be close. Tanya is absolutely thrilled to win the silver too. Jamie gets the bronze.
Jess: That’s just like the human Olympics between Ryan Lockte and Michael Phelps.
Lea: How do you know anything about the human Olympics?
Jess: I snuck downstairs one time when Heather was watching the swimming trials and I learned that although Ryan and Michael are big competitors they’re also good friends.
Lea: Wow, well, Jess, we’re supposed to be hosting the Dolllympics, not the human ones and the IM relay is about to start!
Jess: Right! We have four teams competing this year:
First, from Australia, we have Alissa, Isabelle, and Alison!
Our second team from England: Elizabeth, Tess, and Sonali!
Our third, from South Africa: Emma, Kathy, and Keisha!
And finally from the United States of America we have Kanani, Kaitlyn, and Josefina!
Jess: Now, I’ve always wondered what it is like to be a Dollympic swimmer at a Dollympic competition, and Kaitlyn Claire was generous enough to let us follow her actual thoughts of this very Individual Medley relay. So here we go down to the starting blocks with Kaitlyn (the doll in the blue/white swim cap).
Kaitlyn: As I waited to start with my friends, I couldn’t tell whether I was nervous or excited, probably both. We had worked so hard, practiced our entrances, and made sure we were really consistent with our times, so I had a really good feeling about this meet. I looked down the long lanes of the pool trying to visualize my race.
I could feel the excitement of the crowd.
This was the competition everyone was waiting for. A relay is the most exciting swimming race to watch.
“You got this, Josefina,” I whispered as she stepped up to her block. She was set to swim butterfly first, Kanani would continue with the backstroke and I would finish with freestyle. Breaststroke was eliminated from this competition because too many competitors complained that some dolls could bend their elbows, thus having a huge advantage over the ones that could not.
Announcer: Take your marks….
“Come on Josefina!! GO! GO! Go!” I jumped every time Josefina lunged out of the water screaming, “GO!” I love butterfly. It really does feel like you’re flying like a dolphin when you do it correctly and Josefina kept her head still even with her big kick.
As she got to the end of the lane, Kanani got set to dive in for backstroke.
“Come on Kananai!!” I was way more excited than I really should be and I tried to stop jumping around to get my heart rate down especially because I didn’t need to worry, Kanani was pulling ahead and dominating the race.
Kanani kept her head still while rotating the rest of her body to get every inch of stroke through her arms.
I was able to calm down and concentrate just as she approached the flags.
I waited and watched until I could see Kanani’s entire chest before I let myself dive. Okay, Dive!
Dolphin kick…1,2,3,4,5,6,..7..8 I couldn’t do any more kicks I had to pop out for air. Breathe! You’re feet are your motor engine, so KICK! I told myself as I kicked up a froth behind me.
I breathed to my left so I could keep an eye on Keisha next to me.
Oh my gosh! She’s catching up to me! She’s gonna pass me! I started to panic and flail. Wait! Don’t be stupid! This is exactly what Coach Chrissa was talking about! The more I think about what my competitors are doing, the more I panic and loose all of my technique which means I slow down.
I actually closed my eyes and started breathing to my right, focusing only on whether I was keeping every part of my body as on top of the water as possible and reach, reach, reaching with my arms just skimming the surface of the water, and lifting my head only just enough to catch a breath.
When I got closer to the wall, I knew I couldn’t breathe anymore. I put my head down and smacked the water, 1,2,3,4,5,6..wall!
Oh that wonderful wall!
I lifted my head up and heard my teammates shrieking, then I turned around and looked at the board – we WON! Oh, my gosh!! I was breathing so hard I couldn’t even make a noise. My arms and legs were so tight from lack of oxygen.
Josefina pulled me out of the water and gave me a huge hug!
“We woooon!” she cried, “we kept the tradition alive!”
The USA girls swimming had never lost this particular race since the Dollympics began 3 years ago.
After more hugging and jumping, we were whisked off to the podium to get our gold medals.
Hurray! For the USA!
Lea: Wow, Kaitlyn, that was incredible! Thank you so much for letting us in your head while you swam. I think turning your head away from Keisha made all the difference in the race.
Kaitlyn: I totally agree, and if it weren’t for my coach telling me that, I don’t think we would have won this race.
Lea: Josefina, your butterfly was magnificent.
Josefina: Thanks, but I really could do better. I was so nervous. My heart was pounding so hard before the race and my muscles were so tight. They really didn’t get loose until after the 25yd mark.
Lea: Kanani, you really helped the team pull ahead. You were first for your entire race.
Kanani: Was I? That’s the great thing about backstroke. You can hear the person right next to you, but you really don’t know what else is going on until you get to the wall.
Lea: Well congratulations to everyone!
Gold medal podium final photo!
AH! I think this is going to be my favorite Dollympic post! As you probably could guess I (the human, that is) LOVE swimming. I swim everyday (and 2 times a day when I’m on vacation!). I’ve never competed when I was young because none of my schools had pools and I was too busy playing violin, and I’ve never competed as an adult because the thought of joining Master’s swimming and having to wake up for a 6am practice is too horribly early to think about.
Just in case you want to know, here’s how I made the doll’s pool: I spread a blue sheet on the floor, cut up black poster board for the lane lines and I also used the poster board to make the flags. The starting blocks and finish area were AG doll boxes covered by the blue sheet.