World University Games Blog
Four members of the Virginia swimming teams are competing this week at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China. Former Cavalier Matt McLean and rising sophomore Rachel Naurath will both be represting the United States. Rising senior David Karasek is swimming for his native Switzerland and former Virginia swimmer Katya Bachrouche is competing for Lebanon, where she has dual citizenship.
Friday, Aug. 12 – Rachel Naurath
Travel went really well all things considered, and nothing was delayed. We flew for approximately 13 hours from San Francisco to Hong Kong, where we landed at around 6 p.m. local time. It was strange flying and never having the sun set … sort of surreal. But everything went smoothly through customs, and we actually took a bus from Hong Kong, got stamped out of customs there, and transferred through China. So we have a ton of stamps in our passports now from that. We got to see a little of Hong Kong but it got pretty dark pretty fast unfortunately. Then we took another bus for about 50 minutes to the village, where we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes for our credentials/welcoming.
We also got another bag of clothing when we got here from the USA federation; lots of polos, a jacket, sweats, shoes, etc. (Some of it is awesome … some of it is less awesome. Slash ugly. Hahaha.) There was a ton of security too, which was comforting! There are probably about six or seven 17-story dormitories here and I had no idea there were going to be so many people. We are in a building with the USA federation, Great Britan, Canada, and Australia. My roomies are from Princeton and Wisconsin, and they’re both breastrokers. We live in small dorms that have two bunks in them, a desk, and three closets. After this meet, these dorms will be converted to serve a new college that will spring up in Shenzhen! The shower, sinks, and toilet are all outside on our balcony, which is interesting, and not very private, as you can imagine. But the space is super efficient, and it all fits together very nicely.
We swam for the first time this morning and the pool here is unbelievable. There’s a big competition pool with lots of seating (swimming is already sold out … crazy. Not like that in the USA). It’s ridiculously hot here, and the smog is like nothing I’ve experienced before. Thus far it hasn’t rained, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. The people are unbelievably nice – always wanting to help and most of them can speak decent English. We have, however, found a few funny “lost-in-mistranslation” examples. The competition starts on Sunday for pool swimming and Saturday for open water. I think competitions for other sports have already started, but opening ceremonies are tomorrow (the 12th). We’ve been swimming pretty well so far for having just getting over the loooong plane ride. We had our first team meeting tonight and selected captains, as well as discussed what to expect during the meet. This is going to be a very close team, and will be an amazing meet!