EFELos Angeles

Mexican-American Anita Alvarez is preparing to give her all to win a medal for the U.S in the synchronized swimming competition at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The 19-year-old swimmer was born in Amherst, New York, where her mother, Karen, who for 30 years has been coaching synchronized swimming, began teaching her to swim when she was 5 years old.

Alvarez told EFE she grew up watching videos of swimming competitions and began to admire Mariya Koroleva, now one of her Olympic teammates.

Feeling "on top of the world," Alvarez said she and Koroleva are determined to win the gold against tough competitors from Russia, Austria and Mexico.

Besides their work in the pool, the pair practice Pilates and ballet to gain flexibility, Alvarez said.

Alvarez usually trains in California, but she and other Olympic swimmers will take part in a "boot camp" in Puerto Rico before heading for Rio, where the Games will begin Aug. 5.