"My Focus" is a weekly photo series in which TeamUSA.org (and @TeamUSA on Instagram) takes fans behind the scenes with some of the top Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls. Fans can get a glimpse into a day in the life of an athlete and see the hard work, dedication and sacrifice that is required on a daily basis to represent Team USA. In the tenth installment, follow synchronized divers Maren Taylor and Deidre Freeman as they train at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
1) In Sync
“The hardest part about training for synchronized diving is finding time to train with each other," said USA Diving's Deidre Freeman. "We are so busy with everything in our lives and the distance between us, it's hard to organize a training trip.”
2) Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
“As a competitor in a mainly individual sport, the best part of synchronized diving is getting to share goals, challenges and successes with one of my best friends!” said Maren Taylor.
3) Compatibility Is Key
“We became diving partners because we were selected at a synchronized diving camp, where we dove with many different divers to see who matched up well and had potential.”
4) The Thrill Of The Dive
“The first time I tried diving was my first week of high school, and I learned my entire 11-dive list required for high school competitions in one week and couldn't wait for my first competition," said Freeman.
5) On The Edge
“I practice in the early morning for a few hours and again in the afternoon for two hours," said Taylor. "I train basics and drills in the morning sessions and repetitions of competition dives in the afternoons.”
6) Getting Warm
“We like stretching and getting warmed up, but not too stretched out, otherwise I don't feel powerful. I often do my best training and competing with very little stretching.”
7) Laser Focus
“I started diving when I was only 5 years old," said Taylor. "I remember competing in our local summer diving league when I was really little and always having that competitive drive to win.”
8) Better Together
“I've played for a lot of team sports and I love being able to share my experiences and successes with teammates, especially Maren!” said Freeman.
9) Making A Splash
“I practice my dives 3-6 hours a day," said Freeman. "We only train our synchronized dives together once every month or two for a few days at a time since we are in Iowa and Texas. We practice our timing in the morning and our dives in the afternoon.”
10) Tinkering With Technique
“The hardest part about synchronized diving is changing certain things about my timing and positions so that I can match my partner," said Taylor. "I have very specific techniques I use in my individual diving but in synchronized diving each partner has to make adjustments to make dive as synchronized as possible.”
11) Support System
“Our coach, Team USA, our parents, teammates and each other have been the most inspirational, motivational and supportive.”
12) Love What You Do
“Our favorite place we’ve been to compete is Barcelona, Spain. It was our first major international competition and first individual appearance, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in one of the best pools in the world, with the best team in the world.”
Watch Taylor and Freeman in action: