We caught up with six members of Team USA who not only have a full training and competition schedule but are also enrolled in school.
In honor of Back to School Week, we asked them to give us a peek inside their school bags to see the things they can’t get through school — or a training session — without. See who carries a lucky bracelet from his mom and who travels with a pouch with a pineapple on it.
1) Kyla Ross, Gymnastics
Major: Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Notebook: I use this notebook for English class to take notes in lecture.
Lab notebook: This is for my chemistry lab class, where I document my experiments. One of my recent experiments was making aspirin!
Sunglasses and sunscreen: Because it’s always sunny in California!
Body mist: I always carry this in my bag because I love to smell good.
Toiletries bag: My Aloha toiletries bag always reminds me of my family in Hawaii.
Daily planner: I love to stay organized with my busy schedule.
Trail mix: Always have to stay fueled. Trail mix is a great snack that gives me energy to get through my day.
Water bottle: I always make sure to drink enough water to stay hydrated, especially after hard workouts.
2) Alec Yoder, Gymnastics
School: The Ohio State University
Major: Sports Industry
Laptop: As a student-athlete at Ohio State, school is priority. But keeping a balance between being a student and being an athlete can sometimes be difficult. So I always keep both my school supplies and my training supplies in my bag so I can easily go from one to the other. My laptop helps me stay on top of homework and my studies.
Tablet: My tablet is where I keep all of my competition videos and training videos, so I always keep it with me so that I can watch and review old routines to help me prepare to be better in the future.
Notebook: For in-class assignments and where I jot down notes to study later.
Planner: This is where I put all of my assignments down so I don’t miss due dates. (I’ve had some trouble with this in the past and this keeps me in check.)
Headphones: I always need music to get me through the day, so a pair of headphones is crucial.
Training shorts: One of the core necessities for training, shorts to get me through training on all six events.
Slides: It’s pretty rare when I wear shoes to the gym, a pair of slides is always essential for quick on and off for practice.
Grips: Grips for rings and high bar. Impossible not to have them!
Phone charger: Always have to keep my phone charged!
Recovery drink: Recovery is key, after a hard workout I always keep some key nutrition on hand to help me recover and prepare for the next day.
Water bottle: Always have to stay hydrated!
3) Taylor Turner, Weightlifting
School: Metropolitan State University of Denver
Major: Criminal Justice & Criminology
Textbooks: “A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America” by Ronald Takaki, which I’m reading for class. School keeps me busy, but I am still training and working hard to try and earn a spot on the 2018 world championships team.
Laptop: The sticker I put on my laptop is of a woman lifting weights. Seeing it helps me keep focused mentally, not only on my school work but also training towards hopefully making an Olympic team one day.
Earbuds: My earbuds are another thing I don’t want to lose. I use these to pump myself up in the gym with music that gets me in the mood to lift big weight!
Planner: This planner keeps me organized. It tells me where I need to be and when, along with my training program. I would be lost without it!
Hand sanitizer: As I prep to try and make Team USA for the 2018 world championships, I need to stay healthy! I try to wash my hands as much as possible, but keep this handy just in case I need to get rid of germs.
4) Johnny Hooper, Water Polo
School: UC Berkeley
Major: Business Administration (Haas School of Business)
Books: I don’t use too many books — almost everything is on my laptop! “Corporate Finance Reader” is a required book for my Finance class, but recently I’ve been interested in that industry.
Materials: “Brand Portfolio Strategy and Brand Architecture” is a marketing case study and I am extremely interested in marketing. In order to stay ahead, you’ve got to read up.
Laptop: I listen to music on my laptop when I’m studying. Right now, Astroworld and Life’s A Trip have been on repeat.
Financial calculator: You never know when you are going to need to calculate, so I stay prepared!
Pen, pencil and highlighter: I only keep one of each since I don’t have a lot of space in my backpack.
Earphones: I’m a big music guy and since I'm always on the go I need a pair of reliable earphones.
Wallet: I’ve always got to keep my wallet on me since my school ID gives me access into the aquatics building for practice.
Lucky bracelet: Shout out Mom! She gave me this bracelet a while ago that she got at a flea market in Tokyo. Its symbolic meaning is to give strength and humility.
Planner: I’m pretty forgetful and using a planner recently has definitely helped keep me on track.
Car keys: Sadly, I’m pretty lazy and drive everywhere I go. Even if it’s three blocks to the pool from my house.
Chargers: My mobile is always running low on battery, so I either have a charger or charging case on me at all times.
Lip balm: Just in case.
Gum: Always good to have some on you.
5) Tara Davis, Track and Field
School: University of Georgia
Major: Special Education
Backpack: Team USA backpack with my name on it, and a Georgia name tag so everyone knows what sport I play. Also, if anyone wants to steal my bag, they can’t!
Journals: I have two 3-subject spiral journals I carry in my bag every day. I use those journals to write my notes and reminders for myself. I have six classes and each class has their own section in the journals.
Calculator: I am in a math class and we are required to bring a calculator every day.
Pens and pencils: Of course. And I have every color in pens.
Earbuds: How I listen to my music when riding the bus or walking in between classes.
Snacks: I bring snacks every day. It is important to have snacks, especially if you have a workout in the afternoon. You never want to go to practice on an empty stomach. I also bring a lunch that I meal prep that week.
Water bottle: Always have to bring a water bottle to class with me, have to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Gum: Almost every person has a pack of gum in their backpack. Nobody wants stinky breath. Gum also helps me focus in class — not sure how, but it does.
Lip balm: I carry this almost everywhere I go. I can’t stand having chapped lips. At one point during the school year I was carrying around three of them.
6) Drew Shellenberger, Triathlon
School: Southport High School in Indianapolis
Backpack: I use the USA Triathlon backpack I won at high school nationals in 2017. It is looking a little beat up, but I love it anyway.
Laptop: Every student at Southport High School in Indianapolis is issued one of these, and uses it for online assignments — OK, for pretty much everything!
Book: “The Things They Carried” by Tim O'Brien, the book we are reading in AP English. It is a group of letters written by soldiers in the Vietnam War to loved ones back home in the USA.
Folders and binders: Keeps all my info for each class.
Graphing calculator: In calculus, we use it every day.
Pens and pencils: I really like a specific type mechanical pencils. Any pen will do as long as it is a clicky pen!
Wireless headphones: Two sets, in case one dies. Can you tell I forget to charge things? I like this pair I won at the 2017 USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships.
Team USA pullover: In case I get cold. That usually happens in the lunchroom. I wear it pretty much every day!
Planner: To keep organized. Our school has a block schedule, so I don’t have every class every day, and I don’t want to miss any assignments! I also have a countdown to the Youth Olympic Games.
Phone and charging cable: My phone still dies sometimes.
Wallet: With my school ID and the driver’s license I’ve had since April.
Water bottle: I try to drink three bottles of water each day at school.
Snacks: I’m a calorie-burning machine, so I’ve got to have snacks! My favorites are fruit smiles and s'mores granola bars.
Gum: Peppermint is my favorite flavor.