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Open Water World Champs: Kalyn's Diary -- October 29, 2000

(Kalyn Keller, 15, is the US national champion in the 5 K open water event. Here is today's installment of Kalyn's diary from Honolulu, where the First FINA Open Water World Championship will begin tomorrow.)

HONOLULU, October 30.

Aloha again!

It is getting closer and closer until race day, and all the meetings and press confrences and interviews really fill up our day, along with our workouts.

Despite a full schedule, Regan Schriver, Dawn Hickman and I still find time to go and window shopping around the hotel. Hawaii is quite expensive. We all saw this really cute suit, so we went in the store only to find out it costs $130! I think we will opt just to go with the cocoanut bikinis with the grass skirt.

Opening ceremonies was last night. We really had no idea what it was going to be like since this is the first FINA open water champs ever held. It turned out to be a great show.

First, we had to select a flag bearer. The team chose John Flanagan because he was an experienced local. Then the show went on to a luau-type thing. There was a lot of hip-shaking, flower-dancing, fire-playing fun going on. We actually learned a few new words in Hawaiian, but I have already forgotten them!

At one part of the ceremony, the hula girls came out into the audience to choose a "warrior." Mark Leonard was the master warrior! He went on stage along with a few guys from South Africa and Cuba and tried to hula dance. Let's be kind and simply say, he needs to stick with swimming. But.... it was great entertainment!