Get to Know Team USA Synchronized Swimmers Mariya Koroleva & Anita Alvarez
On the surface, synchronized swimming appears to be one of the most effortlessly graceful sports in the Olympics.
But wouldn't you know, it's not as easy to pull off being elegant while holding your breath underwater as it looks.
We were lucky enough to watch the magic unfold as Team USA synchro swimmers Mariya Koroleva and Anita Alvarez let us into their lives as they prepared for the 2016 Rio Olympics. They definitely proved the grueling and demanding nature of the sport.
"You want to make it look as easy as possible," Maria told Sweety High. "But what people don't know is just how hard it is. Our performance isn't that long, but it's rough. Pretty much the whole time your lungs are burning, your muscles are burning, you're extremely tired, so you're trying to cover up how you feel and show the world that you're just having the best time ever."
These ladies have clearly mastered the art of smiling through the pain.
Leading up to their performances, the girls spend eight to nine hours a day, six days a week, training in both the pool and on land. And, no, they rarely ever get weekends or holidays off.
When you're as committed to achieving your dreams as Mariya and Anita are, your hard work knows no bounds. Your social life can take a back seat when winning a gold medal is on the line.
There is some added pressure for the duo this year, seeing as they're the only pair of synchro swimmers competing for Team USA.
"It makes it a little bit more special that it's just the two of us," Anita said. "Knowing that you're the face of your country this year for the competition–it's really exciting."
Mariya and Anita made our country proud with their mesmerizing routine in the semi-finals. We can't wait to see what the future holds for these two amazing athletes!
You know which other Olympic sport is just as difficult? Marathon swimming. Bet you didn't know THESE four terrifying things open-water swimmers have to deal with on a regular basis.