Greetings Bear fans!
Coming to you live from Kazan, Russia, this is Brooke Vowell. I will be your new Cal Women's Water Polo blogger for the World University Games. We are currently a bit jet-lagged but ready to play.
I would first like to send a shout-out to the most talented Taylor Dodson. She did an amazing job with her blog, "Taylor's Take," that was featured during our 2013 season.
Our team began the summer with two weeks of solid training back in Berkeley. Our squad for the World University Games is comprised of quite a young bunch of girls. We have four incoming freshmen (Stephanie Mutafyan, Emily Loughlin, Brigitta Games, and Kelsey Roland), four sophomores (Sierra Smiley, Kathleen Menz, Meagan Smith, and myself), four juniors (Chris Baker, Missy Hale, Tiera Schroeder, and Victoria Williams), and just one senior, Ashley Young. Although the team has graduated some wonderful seniors, we have come with positive, open attitudes and are very excited to have our freshmen here. As our coaches Richard Corso and Matt Flesher have emphasized, this summer is dedicated to putting in a lot of hard work and pushing ourselves to become the best that each of us can become, both in and out of the water. What better way is there to kick this up-and-coming season off than a trip to the World University Games in Kazan!To give you a recap of the past few days, we arrived in Moscow after 13 hours of flying on July 2nd. Here, our team was fortunate enough to briefly see the sights and take in the heat at the Red Square before finishing off with the flight to Kazan. But little did we know what was ahead of us! After being so kindly greeted with cheers and applause at the airport, the squad bussed it over to the athlete village. The village will be the residence of the athletes from all different countries during the games - similar to the village at the Olympic Games. If I may say so myself, this place is awesome!
As you all know, yesterday was July 4th, our wonderful country's Independence Day. The celebration began with the American flag raising ceremony. USA athletes all stood together in the center of the village as Russia formally welcomed our country to the Games and raised the American flag. It was quite an amazing experience.
With all of the action happening outside of the pool, let's not forget the importance of every training opportunity inside the pool for our developing team. On July 3rd, we took on Italy for two quarters and on July 4th, we faced Canada. The scrimmages went considerably well for the first time this team has really competed together. Today we will have a final scrimmage with Japan as we prepare for our first match against Hungary on July 6th.
All in all, our team could not be more excited for the Games and to welcome the fresh talent onto our new squad. We have an inspiring two weeks ahead of us and I cannot wait to continue with this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more updates on Team USA versus Hungary, the Opening Ceremonies, and more!GO BEARS!