I left straight from Nationals in San Antonio to fly to Moscow for the first stop of this year’s FINA World Cup circuit. I landed in Moscow at 11pm on Monday and the meet started Tuesday morning. It sounds crazy but the travel and the jet lag were totally worth it! The meet in Moscow was at the 1980 Olympic pool. This was the year that the US and 65 other countries unfortunately boycotted the Olympic Games. It was a beautiful pool and interesting to think that we were a handful of Americans ever to compete at this venue. The meet went great. I won the 100m breaststroke and the 50m breaststroke and won 2 mattress toppers (I’m not kidding) thanks to Airweave, the title sponsor of this years World Cups. After the meet concluded, Tim Phillips, Cammile Adams, and I did some sight seeing at the Red Square. I’ve always wanted to see St. Basil’s Cathedral in person and it far surpassed my expectations! It’s a beautiful piece of architecture. Cammile and I decided that it looks more like an Ice Cream Palace in Candy Land than a Cathedral… Isn’t art cool?
The contingent from the US traveled from Moscow to Paris for the second stop of the World Cup. After a long travel day (complete with sprinting full speed through the Frankfurt airport to make a connecting flight) we arrived in Chartres, a small town about 60 miles outside of Paris. Chartres is a beautiful place and is known for the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in the World and also one of the finest and best-preserved gothic cathedrals in France. We had a day before the meet started so we were able to go explore the cathedral and surrounding city center. It’s one of those things that a picture doesn’t do justice. It was simply breathtaking and very cool to see in person.
The meet in Chartres went well! The venue was beautiful. Not only did we have a view of the cathedral, the complex had two 50m pools, both made of stainless steal (imagine swimming in a pool of mirrors), and some great water slides. We tested them out a few times to make sure they were safe of course ;). The volunteers were energetic, enthusiastic, and extremely kind. The meet was sold out every session and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more energetic crowd at a swim meet.. They were literally standing, singing, and dancing the whole meet. I was blown away by their excitement and hospitality. Thank you Chartres! I can’t wait to come back!