The backgrounds of these champion synchronized swimmers couldn’t be more different: Mariya Koroleva (left) was born in Yaroslavl, Russia, and immigrated to the United States as a child; Mary Killman was born in Texas and is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a U.S. federally recognized tribe of Native Americans.
But in the pool, they are in perfect harmony.
“We’re both able to pull the best out of each other,” Killman told the Indian Country Today Media Network.
They were the only U.S. synchronized swimmers to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. Although they finished 11th in the duet competition, both have realized their dreams of competing in the Olympics.
For Koroleva, that dream started when she was 11 years old and saw a demonstration by the 2004 Olympic synchronized swimming team. “It made me want to be one of those people,” she told USA Today.