10 Questions with Team USA Synchronized Swimmer, Mary Killman
Added by Gregg Snyder on July 5, 2012.
Mary Killman. Photo provided by Team USA.
Team USA did not qualify for the London Olympics in the team portion of Synchronized Swimming. However, Mary Killman and her partner Mariya Koroleva qualified in the duets event. Mary, the youngest member of Team USA, will be making her first trip to the Olympics. Before switching to synchro, Mary participated in competitive swimming for ten years. In 2010 and 2011, Mary was named the USA Synchro Athlete of the Year. This year, she is shooting for a medal in London.
1. As a first time Olympian, aside from competing, what are you most looking forward to in terms of the experience of being in the Olympics?
“Probably opening ceremonies. It’s one of those things that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m really excited to be in the mix of all the other countries and all these sports. We get to get together as a world.”
2. Throughout your career, did the accomplishment of participating in the Olympic Games always seem attainable?
“Probably when I was 10. I was still involved in competitive swimming; I kind of was like I want to go to the Olympics. It’s just what I wanted to do and it’s just kind of been the path I’ve taken and the choices I’ve made, I’ve ended up in a different sport but still at the same goal.”
3. Is representing the US in the Olympic Games the highest accomplishment for an athlete?
“Definitely. You’re going to a different country and representing not only your entire sport, you are representing your entire country. You are the representative for the United States of America. Everyone is going to be looking at you and there’s a lot of pressure but I think it’s probably one of the highest honors an athlete can get.”
4. In your eyes, as a top competitor in your sport heading into London, is winning gold simply a goal, or is it the only option?
“It’s always a goal. If you’re not seeing yourself on the podium, then you’re never going to get there. We want to go out and show what we can do and wherever the judges’ end up placing us, then that’s what they do.”
5. Is there a special camaraderie that exists between fellow Olympians? If any member of Team USA were to win a medal, would it be as if you won it as well?
“Of course. It’s really exciting any time anyone from the US wins a medal. You’re really happy for them. It is really nice when you can support the other members of your country, not just other members of your sport.”
6. Synchronized Swimming is a sport that requires a great deal of training between body strength, stamina, timing, being able to hold your breath underwater, and so much more. Yet it doesn’t generally get the recognition it probably deserves. Does that ever bother you? How do you stay motivated?
“It does bother you some times. I’ve been in the sport for 10-11 years and it does get kind of annoying. We put so much time and effort into our days. We are at the pool like 10 hours a day, we do extra workouts. We don’t get the recognition. We still get looked at as the pretty girls in flower caps. But when you talk to some of those people, you immediately earn a respect. Once they find out you are swimming in 17 feet of water every day and have been in the water for the last six hours and you have to do it again today, they realize it’s a lot harder than it shows. One way I’ve always looked at it is the easier we can make it look, the better we are at it. You have to take it as well, if they think it’s easy, I must be doing my job.”
7. We mentioned body strength and stamina being so important in your sport. What types of training do you do?
“We have two water practices pretty much daily and then we also do land workouts. We are doing cardio, running, lifting weights; we also just did a spin class. We are doing all kinds of things. We’ve done gymnastics in the past; we’ve done yoga and taken ballet classes. We’ve taken a lot; you kind of have to reach outside your sport to make your sport the best.”
8. How important is it to be close with and know your partner and teammates both in and out of the water?
“It’s definitely very important. You spend every day with these people, you have to have a connection and know exactly what they are thinking at all times. If you don’t know how they hear the music or how they are feeling that day, it can completely change practice.”
9. You will be competing in the duets portion with partner Mariya Koroleva, but Team USA did not qualify for the team event. How disappointing was that?
“It was definitely disappointing; I was part of both the team and duet events. It was kind of bitter sweet. To know that our duet, we worked so hard to make it the way we need it to qualify and the team did the best we could, it just didn’t pan out the way we were hoping.”
10. Russia, the defending gold medalists from 2008 and current World Champions, appear to be the favorites. What can the world expect from the partnership of you and Mariya? And how confident are you that you can medal, or possibly even win gold in London?
“Again, it kind of comes back to we are in the hands of the judges. All we can control is how we swim and how we perform. As long as we go out and show the two of us are supposed to be here, we are representing the United States of America, we are always aiming for gold!”
Mary Killman (r) with duets partner Mariya Koroleva.
We will continue our 2012 Team USA / London Olympics Interview Series all month leading up to the start of the Games. Find all the interviews and more Team USA coverage on the DoubleGSports.com Team USA page.