It's all go, go, go for stars of the sand
BEACH VOLLEYBALL They may have achieved their Olympic goal but there is no time to pause and reflect for Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin.
Britain's number one duo, who train at the University of Bath, have been awarded the London 2012 host nation place ahead of Lucy Boulton and Denise Johns.
The news was announced on Monday morning and, by 2pm that afternoon, Dampney and Mullin had been kitted out for the Games at Team GB's Preparation Camp – just part of the hectic lifestyle they have become accustomed to on the beach volleyball circuit.
"It's all go, go, go from now until the Games," said Dampney. "We're used to it, though, it's our job.
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"We are in a holding camp at Loughborough this week, then we go to Berlin for a World Tour event next week, so we'll be training with and competing against some of the teams that will be going to the Olympics.
"After that there's another training camp in Tenerife, then we move into the Olympic Village. We have to do a lot of travelling but we don't mind."
Dampney and Mullin, aged 26 and 27 respectively, only returned from Moscow last week, where they suffered disappointment with Boulton and Johns in the CEV Continental Cup Final.
Victory there would have secured a second Olympic spot but the British quartet lost 3-1 in the first round to Holland, who booked their London place by winning the World Cup this week.
"It was a tough draw and we were disappointed not to get two teams through but we're just looking ahead to the Games now," said Mullin.
"We're sorry for Denise and Lucy but, although we train and travel together and are one programme, because of the nature of our sport we are very individual teams.
"We play two completely different games and once we are in a tournament, we just get into our bubble and focus on our performances.
"We do get on quite well with them but it was our goal to get to the Olympics and we got there."
Dampney and Mullin were told they had been nominated by British Volleyball last week but had to wait until Monday before they could share the news.
"There were obviously procedures that had to happen, like appeals, but now it's been announced and we're just really happy that we can tell everyone," beamed Dampney.
"Everyone says that kitting out is an amazing process but it exceeded our expectations, we really enjoyed the day.
"We go into different sections and try on our competition wear, our lounge wear, our opening ceremony wear. We had a personal shopper with us so it's a girl's dream."
Mullin added: "This is something we've been working together towards for a long time and just to finally be part of the team and pick up our kit is very exciting."
The duo have been competing together internationally since 2009 and finished runners-up in the CEV Continental Cup tournament last year, as well as fifth at the London Test Event.
They will be the first British pair to compete at a Games since Atlanta 1996, when the sport made its Olympic debut.
As well as training on the outdoor beach at the Sports Training Village, Dampney and Mullin also receive sport science support from Team Bath.
Kate Eddy, senior strength and conditioning coach at the university, is head of sports science for the British Volleyball beach volleyball programme. Barry Edwards and Stan Mavridis provide physiotherapy and sports massage respectively.
Mullin, meanwhile, receives a Team Bath athlete scholarship which covers a range of additional support services, including nutrition advice and sports psychology.