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Inside the Locker Room: By Nicole Dayton
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/22/2011

March 22, 2011

STANFORD, Calif. - Hey there SWG fans!

If you want to, go ahead and take a nice deep breath with all of us! Spring break '11 is here and we all have finally taken some time to breathe and are ready to get down to business in the gym without any classes or studying! It's time to fine-tune, and work out all the little kinks in our routines. I know it's been a while since the last update, so I'll recap the past two weeks for SWG!

Coming off our Cal quad meet, we went straight into "dead week" for classes and our "big push" in the gym. Dead week is the week before finals when we're wrapping up loose ends in classes and getting ready to buckle down for exams. This means attending the last week of lectures, finishing up last problem sets, and many times, submitting final papers for classes that might not have exams. In the gym, this means pushing through some tough conditioning, getting in extra routines and skills, and really focusing in on making the corrections we've been working at all season. Sounds a little exhausting? It was, but we embraced it and brought our best the whole week!

On Thursday (the 10th), Chris McLachlin (one of the men's volleyball coaches) came in to do an activity with us. We were split into different groups (including the coaches and Lindsey, our athletic trainer) and each group was given a pair of scissors, tape, and a pack of index cards. Our assignment was to "make something you're proud of". After about 20 minutes of hard work, we all got to go around and talk about what each group created. It wasn't a surprise that every group was on the same page. Essentially, we all created something that embodied what SWG is about this year. From cutouts of everybody holding hands, to tower-shaped masterpieces, to stepwise representations of our journey this year, to a replica of the national championship trophy ... each one individually represented the numerous characteristics that make this team so special. Combined, they represented each person's belief in our ability to achieve our ultimate goal this season: a National Championship.

We transitioned into finals week with a Pac-10 game day on Sunday (the 12th). This was our final practice day together as a team before Pac-10s, and it was awesome! It was an early start for SWG ... 9 a.m. (or should I say 8 a.m. with the time change)! But we proved our toughness hitting routine after routine and approached each event with confidence and trust in both our teammates and ourselves.

It was great to go into finals week with that practice fresh in our minds and bring that same trust into our workouts. With everybody practicing at different times and studying for exams, finals week calls for lots of mental toughness ... and SWG brought it. Everybody was able to get the job done even without the entire team cheering us on at all times. We came in when possible and used the time in the gym as an escape from studying and a chance to really be efficient and build up confidence.

On Friday (the 18th), we met at the gym at 7:45 to load up the bus and head down to L.A. for the Pac-10 Championships. We drove right to our practice session, which was a quick and efficient workout for us to touch the equipment and get some pre-meet jitters out. After practice we headed to Santa Ana to have an amazing dinner at Weedge's house! All the parents who were able to make it joined us and we had a great time chatting, playing foosball and basketball after dinner. At the hotel, we were greeted with some ridiculously awesome Hollywood decorations courtesy of the most supportive and amazing parents we could ask for. Thank you SWG parents for the decorations and all that you do! You guys are truly amazing!

We woke up the next morning ready to go for the competition. On the bus we watched a SWEET video put together by "T" (Tenaya West). Throughout the meet, we showed our toughness by fighting for everything even if it wasn't perfect. We left the meet excited about some amazing moments but also knowing that there is still so much room for improvement. We now know what we need to work on and are going to give everything we have into perfecting the little things! Bars was a bit jittery, but shoutout to Shell for a solid start and Brownie for a great routine! Beam overall was great! Brownie, like always, rocked a near-flawless routine in the first spot to set the tone. Shona and Dani followed with super solid routines! Kris stepped up and competed a full-in on floor for the first time this season which was great to see! Peach and A-mo nailed routines in the back like always. A-mo captured the "Pac-10 Floor Champ" title (a much deserved title going 9.9+ all season). We closed out the night on vault with some big vaults from both Brownie and Shell in the back!

We're excited to keep fine-tuning routines to bring to Ann Arbor where we'll be the #1 seed in our region competing against University of Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa State, Minnesota and Kent State! It's a great location as we've already competed there once this year (and I have to say I'm excited to be competing close to home once again!). Now is our time to really focus in on landings and small details. Spring break will be a great time to perfect those details in the gym and spend time enjoying each other's company and having a blast ... SWG style here on the farm! Sorry to write a novel. There was just so much to catch up on! Make sure to check back in next week for more updates!!

-- Daytona




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