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US Artistic Swimming Team has its eyes on Paris Olympic gold

The United States Artistic Swimming Team is making its final push in training as the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics fast-approaches.

Artistic swimming, formerly known as synchronized swimming, requires athletes to tap into their best abilities in acrobatics and artistry while maintaining precision with their team members.

As the U.S. Artistic Swimming Team qualified for its first Olympic opportunity since 2008, team members say they spend 8 to 10 hours a day in the water while training at UCLA, often without a weekend break.

”This is our full time job,” Kenny Gaudet said. “We relocated from all over the country in order to pursue this dream of being able to get this chance to be on the best team in the world.” 

Training also continues outside the pool. The athletes say they hone their skills with cross training, gymnastics and ballet. Then more hours are spent synchronizing every movement even before they jump back into the water.

“We skip out on holidays. We don’t get to see our families very often,” Dani Ramirez, a UCLA student, said. “We sacrifice a lot to be here.”

For swimmers like Megumi Field of Cerritos, wearing USA across their chest is another motivator while pushing through grueling training and shaking off burning eyes and tired legs.

“There’s so much pride that goes into being part of the U.S. team,” Field says. “Just being able to represent the team again in the Olympic stage is super exciting for us.”

Ramirez, a daughter of immigrants, is also reminded of her parents when training for the Olympics gets hard. 

“Coming from an immigrant family, it means a lot for us to represent the United States,” she explained. “We’ve done a lot to get here, done a lot for our citizenship. To represent the U.S. is something that my mom and dad are very proud of.”

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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