WE’RE HERE!!

WE ARE AT THE CANADIAN QUALIFIER!!

I must admit to you all that I have never competed at a qualifier before. The last time I was in competition with a club was 2012 and Qualifiers hadn’t been invented yet…. This sounds like a sentence I would say that started with “…. Back in my day…” hahaha

Never the less, I am very excited to be here! I have had a great experience going back to a club atmosphere this year; the joy and the energy they bring to the pool every day makes training very fun so I have no doubt that the competition will be any different!!

On Sunday, I was greeted by the pool I first trained at many many many years ago when I was just eight years old. Bring on the flash backs because I couldn’t stop thinking about those first few years I spent learning, making friends and starting what turned out to be my career on the national team. So many memories….. including my floatable noseclip….. for those who remember me back then, they know that more of my time was spent chasing that noseclip than actually swimming the routine.

We also took a trip to Banff. There’s nothing like watching other people experience Banff for the 1st time. The realization of the beauty in nature, the shear size of the mountains and watching these girls literally bouncing off the walls with excitement is so fun. It makes me miss the days when I could just take the car and spend the day hiking, skiing and enjoying the fresh air.  We also had a bit of an iPhone X photo session because dayummmmm they take great pictures!!!

Now back to the competition!! We will be competing many events over the next few days! Tomorrow I will be competing in the Tech Solo event, Wednesday: Tech Duet and Tech Team and Friday: Free Duet. HERE is all the information you need for the competition!

Excited to see everyone at the pool and to be back in my hometown competing!

Claudia

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Day 1 in JAPAN

As jet lag had set in with great intensity, I did not sleep much of my 1st evening in Tokyo, forcing myself to stay in bed waiting to fall asleep again I eventually caved and went out for a walk. My walk took me around the corner to the 711 where I was greeted with some veryyyyyyy interesting foods…… spaghetti in a bun, pre-made hot dogs, corn buns, hot coffee in a can and more…… Of course after that breakfast in the hotel had soup, rice, fish and other fun things!

After finishing my can of coffee (lol) We headed to the ministry of Foreign Affaires (our 1st stop on the trip) and listened to intriguing presentations about Japan, their economy, their struggles, their stance on weapons and their history with the United States. Surprising to me, a lot of the Japanese constitution rides on America and what they want out of Japan…. And since Japan is a country with very little natural resources, they really need these ties with other countries to import goods!

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With Tokyo 2020 Organizers

We then had a presentation about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We talked about how they will make the games safe, how they will make transportation smooth for athletes and spectators alike, how to combat their summer heat as the Games are during the hottest weeks of the summer, the “beyond2020” program, their food, and the “Host Town” initiative. It is are sure to be a great Olympic Games!

Next we went to the Imperial Palace where we learnt that they still, in fact, have an Emperor and Empress that live in the palace. It only opens to the public on two days of the year which is when people can finally see the grounds. It is a beautiful, big, place surrounded by a mot and what looks like grown up bonzai trees! hahaha

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Imperial Palace Selfie

We then went to check out a gym where we would be able to train. As fate would have it, Tessa and Scott were in the process of doing their performance! A record breaking one at that! We stopped everything (as we will continue to do the rest of the trip) to watch the TV and Peyongchang as CANADA always shares the love, from any country we are in!

Next we took on JICE, which is the organization who made it possible for my group to be on this amazing trip! They organize all of the exchange programs and interestingly enough, we are the first Canadian athletes to be part of this project!

The Kakehashi project has these objectives:

  •   To promote mutual trust and understanding among the people of Japan and Canada to build a basis for future friendship and cooperation.
  •   To promote a global understanding of Japan’s economy, society, history, diverse culture, politics and foreign policy.
  •   To convey information on Japanese characteristics through communication devices including social media.

We visited their open concept offices, met employees and their president.

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A gift from JICE

After a LONG day of meetings and exploring, we finally sat down for dinner. Tempura and Sashimi!
As of Day 1, we know that Japan is all about cleanliness (not a single garbage can and no litter), has incredible programs in place for 2020, and has very high tech toilets lol

Until next time!

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IT’S OVER :( **CUE THE UGLY CRYING**

The opportunity to come to Tokyo and just spend a week travelling, seeing the culture and experiencing what we experienced is nothing short of extraordinary…. and of course, the role of my time in Japan was to promote and share what we learnt so I will soon be sharing my diary entries from each day I spent there!

But for now……. cue the ugly crying because I’ve met some pretty great humans and I don’t want to leave my Japanese bubble!

I left Canada to meet 7 strangers and travel with them for a week in Japan and honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be with. It just seemed like we clicked, right from the beginning and as the week went on we became closer with every passing day.

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Visiting the Sport Science University in Tokyo

I had a blast! Sharing stories, travelling, getting to know each other and making memories! (KAMPAI!!!) I also learnt so much about each person, their sport, their personalities and whatever other randomness that we happened to blurt out along the way! Nothing brings people together like travelling in a foreign country 😉

In my synchro world, I don’t often have the chance to meet other athletes…. Yes, in passing, but I am always in the pool focusing on my own sport, away from the public eye. Without this opportunity to go to Japan, most of us probably would never have met each other and interacted the way we did. I have been with the same people on trips for a long time and I love them, but to room with different people and to really talk to one another without having to hold anything back and without the stress of competition…. yeah wow, it’s a breath of fresh air.

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In front of the Imperial Palace – Tokyo

All of these athletes have different stories and different experiences. Experiences that we ALL understand and relate to, which helped create such a strong connection amongst the 9 of us. Sport, especially high performance sport, is demanding. Knowing that you are not alone and that other sports have gone through similar situations is inspiring and eye opening.

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Hamilton’s excited for TOKYO 2020 and so are we!!!!

Connecting with these people I met just one week ago and to feel like I’ve made great friendships is something that I will thank JICE for! Not only did I have the opportunity to make connections in Japan, I made friendships within Canada as well.

I’m really going to miss these awesome people and I cant wait to (first of all) stay in touch and to see all of their beautiful faces again soon, even if that means I’m driving to Toronto for a weekend! Love you guys xx

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