With an average age of 20.4 years and an average of 12 years of experience in the sport, Team USA brings a youthful outlook to the international scene. Last year, the U.S. grabbed a sixth-place finish in the team event at the FINA World Cup in Changshu, China. However, only four members of the 2010 team return to the roster. Those athletes include team captain Leah Pinette, along with Megan Hansley, Mary Killman and Michelle Moore. Of those four, only Pinette and Killman return from the 2009 FINA World Championship Team, along with Lyssa Wallace and Alison Williams, who took a break from the National Team in 2010.
The U.S. team was named and began training together in late January 2011. The newest addition to USA Synchro is Head Coach Mayu Fujiki. Fujiki was a bronze medalist at the 1996 Olympic Games and joined the Spanish coaching staff that elevated Spain to a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.
With Fujiki’s guidance, Team USA has followed a focused periodization plan. The training regime has phases that include focusing on creativity, max volume and endurance, quality, and tapering. Team USA has also worked closely with St. Vincent Sports Performance, which has focused on strength, nutrition, sports psychology and overall fitness.
Overall, this year will prove to be a rebuilding year for Team USA. A key to future success will be gaining experience on the international scene. To return to the podium, the U.S. must also focus on retaining athletes throughout the entire quadrennium.
- Mayu Fujiki was named the head coach of the USA Synchro National Team in January 2011. Fujiki was a 1996 bronze medalist for Japan. In 2003, she joined the coaching staff of the Spanish National Team and led Spain to two silver medals (of a possible two) at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and medals in each of the events at the 2010 FINA World Trophy, including winning the overall trophy at that competition. Fujiki has been recognized by the Japanese edition of Newsweek Magazine as one of the 100 most recognizable Japanese people in the world.
- Meghan Kinney was the alternate to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. She spent a year and a half leading up to Beijing training with the U.S. team as the replacement athlete. She went on to become the captain of the 2009 and 2010 U.S. National teams and was one of the top talents leading up to 2012. In September 2010, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor, place a rod in her leg and then endured 10 months of chemotherapy, which she recently finished. Kinney has become a hero and an inspiration to all in the synchro world. Her comeback is very unlikely but if it were to happen, it would be an amazing story leading up to London.
- Mary Killman and Lyssa Wallace currently serve as the National Team duet, however, Michelle Theriault and Olivia Morgan plan on challenging them for the duet spot.
- Phase 1: Technical Element and Skills Testing (25 athletes advance to Phase 2)
- Phase 2: Routine Evaluation (12 athletes are selected to the 2011 World Championship Team)
To be eligible for the 2011 Pan American Team Selection Camp – Phase 3 (August 2011), an athlete must have been one of the 12 athletes named to the 2011 World Championship Team.
- Phase 3: Athletes will participate in the 2011 Pan American Team Selection Camp – Phase 3 (August 2011) in order to be named to the Pan American Team as described below:
From the World Championship Team made up of 12 athletes or from those athletes who have successfully petitioned, nine of those athletes will be nominated to the 2011 Pan American Team, and a 10th athlete will also be identified.
To be eligible for the 2011 Pan American Duet Selection Camp – Phase 4 (August 2011), an athlete must be one of the nine athletes nominated to the 2011 Pan American Team.
- Phase 4: Athletes will participate in the 2011 Pan American Duet Selection Camp – Phase 4 (August 2011) in order to be named to the Pan American Duet as described below:
From the 2011 Pan American Team made up of nine athletes, two of those athletes and one reserve athlete will be nominated to the 2011 Pan American Duet.
- July 16-31, 2011: FINA World Championships – Shanghai, China
- August 2011: 2011 Pan American Team Selection Camp – Indianapolis, Ind.
- October 2011: Pan American Games – Guadalajara, Mexico
- Dec. 9-10, 2011: Duet and Team Olympic Trials – Greensboro, N.C.