USA All the Way!

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I cannot believe that I have been in the United States for almost two months! Where has the time gone and why I have not posted anything sooner??? Maybe by the end of this post we will come upon the answer for my tardiness.

This summer I decided to come back and swim with SwimMAC Team Elite because I knew that they could help me perfect all of the training I have done in Spain and get me ready to compete at an international level. That being said, it was extremely hard to leave Spain, even knowing that I was departing for just a few months. Part of my reluctance was due to all of the uncertainties with moving – what could or would happen this summer – and also because this summer for me marks the end of my Spanish Adventure. Sure, I will go back to Spain in the fall, but this is my last year in Madrid, since if all goes according to plan in the fall of 2016 I will begin a PhD. However, once I was on that plane, all my apprehensions melted away and I must admit I was thrilled by the adventure that lay ahead.

And boy has it been an adventure.

The first week in Charlotte I competed at the Arena Grand Prix Series Charlotte. This meet is by far one of my favorite meets. To give a little background, this meet is one of a series of 6 swim meets held across the United States, which offer elite swimmers of all ages a chance to compete. These are four-day meets, with the first session reserved for distance events, followed by three days of prelims and finals sessions. Cash prizes are awarded for the first three finishers in each event, and for the overall combined score from the six meets. For having just arrived in the US I swam incredibly well. I made a final swim in all of my events and my top finish was fourth in the 200 butterfly.

Right when I thought I had gotten into the swing of a new training schedule I left Charlotte for New Jersey. I arrived at Princeton just in time for the epic P-RADE. Even for this Crimson girl, there is nothing like seeing the dynasty of Tigers parade by.

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A few friends passed us by and posed for photos, including our graduate – Andrew.

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The Princeton Clan 2015: The friends who became family through these past four years!

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The Mills/Perry Family!

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It is such an accomplishment to graduate from Princeton that I can understand why they have so many events to honor the graduates, but I am getting tired just looking at all of the photos from the different events. Below are a few of our photos from the various events to fill you in on all the action. Take your time, there are a lot.

Baccalaureate Mass:

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Class Day:

Dad and I received special seats because Andrew was a recipient of an award for his commitment to both service and athletics. Although we could only see backsides of all of the speakers, we were extremely fortunate to be in the same building as the event because it was raining the event designers decided to have stream the event for the parents and families in adjacent buildings.

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Department –WoodyWOO Event:

An opportunity to recognize the graduates and confer the particular awards on select students.

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Graduation day:

Despite the rain they decided to hold the graduation event in its traditional location so that the class of 2015 would not be the first class to miss walking through Fitz Gate. We may have been wet, but we were ecstatic to be there and celebrate this landmark with Andrew.

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Due to circumstances we were not able to take a family photo at the graduation ceremony and so we took one in our hotel lobby where we all dined on take out Indian food, with the official college graduate.  “The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values” – William S. Bourroughs.  I has been my pleasure to walk with you on your journey these last four years and am so proud of the young man you have become.  Best of luck as you enter the “real” world, but I fear you will not need my luck!

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When I got back to Charlotte we went right to work. I previously had wanted to compete at the Mare Nostrum meet, which is held in Canet, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo. However, in the end I decided that it would be best to get some consistent training under my belt. In hindsight it was the best decision that I could have made. I gained so much technical insight as to how to improve my strokes as well as some major confidence boosting sets.

To give myself a chance to compete, I headed to a local meet in Greensboro, NC last weekend. From all of the hard training that we had been doing, I was just hoping to race well and not placing any expectations on my times. Surprisingly, I was right on my in-season best times in both the 100 and 200 butterfly. More than the fast times, I was pleased with the strength and endurance that I felt throughout the races. This was the first time that I even split the back half of my race, which bodes well for the end of the season.

A few days ago I received my official equipment from USA Swimming in the mail (see the photo below). It now is clear that Pan Ams are right around the corner and how quickly this summer has pasted me by. I could not be more excited for the meet. I am so grateful to the outpouring of love and support from my family, friends, teammates and coaches. USA ALL THE WAY!

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