The path to the London Olympics makes a splashdown in Walnut Creek as the U.S. team's synchronized swimming duet rehearses their routines in a June 16 exhibition.
In a phone interview this week from Indianapolis, Maria Koroleva, of Concord, said she and duet partner, Mary Killman of Texas, would work on their technical program, to the music of soul legend Aretha Franklin, in an exhibition scheduled for Saturday, June 16, at the Clarke Memorial Swim Center, Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek.
For their free routine, the pair is writing a new program, said Koroleva, including the choreography. "I think I'm not supposed to say what the music is," she said, as secrecy builds along the way to the Olympic competition.
Koroleva looks forward to feedback from her former youth team, the Walnut Creek Aquanuts. "It's kind of good to get some experience in a performance in front of a big crowd," she said. "In Walnut Creek, there are a lot of good coaches. There are things we can work on."
The Celebration of Champions, at Heather Farm Park, 301 N. San Carlos Dr., Walnut Creek, is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 16. There will be performances by Walnut Creek Aquanut champions as well as the synchronized duets of the U.S., Czech and French teams, their routines choreographed to music, in the deep pool at the Clarke Memorial Swim Center, according to a news release. Tickets are $15.
Koroleva said she might pursue a graduate degree in sports management. This is supposed to be Koroleva's senior year at Stanford, but she took it off to chase the Olympian ideal. She has been in Indianapolis training with Killman at the natatorium of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
"We're in the pool six to seven hours a day," said Koroleva. Overall training is eight to 10 hours a day, with extra cardio workouts and weight training.
Koroleva and Killman made the U.S. team at the Olympic trials in Greensboro, N.C., last November. In April, at the qualifying tournament in London, they made the big competition as a duet but the overall U.S. team did not qualify, according to the Los Angeles Times.
When she was nine years old, Koroleva moved from Russia to Walnut Creek in 1999, when her father Nikolay got a job in San Francisco. In Russia, she did some recreational swimming, but nothing competitive. On arrival in Walnut Creek, she saw a flier at school for synchronized swimming, and she's been doing it ever since. She graduated from Las Lomas High.
"I love downtown Walnut Creek, all the renovations," she said. "It's so pretty. Walking around at night — I think it's awesome." She also enjoys walking in the Berkeley hills.
Koroleva departs for London July 24, with competition scheduled for Aug. 5-7.
"I think it's going to be everything I have ever imagined it to be," Koroleva said of the Olympics. "I think it's going to surpass all of my expectations."
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