July 9, 2013
KAZAN, Russia - Villanova head coach Rick Simpson is currently in Kazan, Russia for the World University Games, where he and recent Wildcats graduate Roxy Tammadge are a part of the South African delegation. Tammadge is competing in four individual freestyle events for her native country and Simpson is an assistant coach for the South African team.
During their time in Russia this week Simpson will be providing updates from competition as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the athletes' and coaches' experience when it comes to practices, travel and life in the athletics village. Continue reading below for each of Simpson's firsthand updates. New updates will be posted at the top, with previous updates appearing below.
Tuesday, July 9 - The sights of Kazan
"We are finally all settled. My luggage arrived at 4:00 this afternoon and all of our athletes are accredited and moved into the village. It is nice to know all the logistics are squared away and now we can just focus on swimming. This morning we had to train at an auxiliary pool since the Aquatic Palace was being used for diving. The auxiliary pool is quite nice for a "backup."
After the morning session I decided to venture out and wander around downtown Kazan. It was quite a good experience. I found a great place to sit out and have some lunch after two hours of walking around and touring. I decided to be adventurous and take the trolley bus back to the village. After sitting on the bus for a half hour and realizing that I did not recognize anything, it became clear that I was not on the bus that was heading to the village. It is interesting being lost in a strange neighborhood in a strange city with no one that can speak English. I finally gave up and flagged down a cab. I was surprised that it was only 300 rubles...the cabbie certainly could have taken advantage of the lost tourist but he cut me a break.
This afternoon we had our second training session in the competition pool. The venue is simply awesome! Tomorrow we begin competition. Roxy does not start until Friday, but the South Africa men have a relay tomorrow and we are hoping for a finals qualification.
Time for a short team meeting then off to the meal hall!"
Monday, July 8 - Arriving in Kazan
"We are finally settled in the village and had an opportunity to get to the competition pool today. Roxy arrived on July 4 and her travel was very smooth. Now that she has been there for a few days she is quite settled in. My own travel has not been so smooth.
The journey started a couple of weeks ago when the package from the Russian consulate containing both my visa and passport was lost in transit. It was a very stressful week hoping that the new passport and visa would arrive in time. Fortunately, the new package arrived the night before I flew out.
The travel was long. I flew from Philly to JFK and then nine hours on to Moscow, where I had a four-hour layover until the Moscow to Kazan flight. Arrival at Kazan was very easy and South Africa actually had a car and a driver waiting for me. All would have been great at that point if my luggage arrived, but it did not. I am now on my second day without luggage. The uniform package from South Africa is great so I have no shortage of clothes, but I did need to find a shop to buy running shoes.
The village is awesome. There are 14,000 athletes and coaches all in one village. The dining hall is the most amazing part of the production. It is open all day and only closes from 2:00-5:00 AM. There is such a great variety of foods from around the world. Sleeping is a little bit tough. It stays light out until 11 p.m. and the sun is back up by 3:00 a.m. so there is very little sleep time in the dark. That coupled with the time change (eight hours difference) makes it challenging.
The pool is great. We have had to use a practice pool for most sessions since the Aquatic Palace is also being used by diving and synchronized swimming, but we did have a session in the competition pool this morning. All were impressed with the venue. The swimming competition begins on Wednesday and Roxy has her first event on Friday."