U19 World Championship team, she collected hundreds of photos with her ever-handy digital camera. "> U19 World Championship team, she collected hundreds of photos with her ever-handy digital camera. ">

Photo Diary: Tina Wirth with USA Basketball

Vanderbilt freshman Tina Wirth is a shutterbug. During her summer sojourn with USA Basketball as a member of the <A href="http://www.usabasketball.com/women/2005/05_wu19_roster.html"> U19 World Championship team, she collected hundreds of photos with her ever-handy digital camera.

The month-long trip began with training camp at USA Basketball's training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Then the team trained in Washington, DC, for a few days, then flew to Budapest, Hungary, for more training. Finally, they arrived in Tunis, Tunisa, the site of the U19 World Championships, where their hard work paid off, as they brought home the gold.

After Wirth arrived at Vanderbilt this fall, she shared some of her photos with VandyMania's Whitney D. Here's a collection of some of those photos, including some of her comments. (Click on the photos to view a larger image.)

Leaving Home

"This is the airport the day I left for Colorado Springs, so this was the first day of the month-long trip. This is my 13-year-old sister and her friend and my twin sisters."

Colorado Springs, Colorado

"This is one of the first pictures I took. That's Jolene Anderson, a sophomore at Wisconsin, me, Courtney Paris, a freshman at Oklahoma, Abby Waner, freshman at Duke, and Erica Arriaran, freshman at Texas. We were the first group to come from the airport."

"I think this is kind of funny. Courtney Paris gave everyone an Oklahoma shirt trying to promote her school. Erica wore it a lot, so that was a big deal for her. Courtney's probably one of the funniest people I've ever met."

"This was taken when we were about to go see a movie. Last year we didn't go anywhere; it was just basketball all the time. This summer they did a good job of letting us see some stuff and just to have some fun, some bonding time.

"That's Candice Wiggins from Stanford in the front, Courtney Paris, me, Essence Carson from Rutgers, Abby Waner from Duke, Jolene Anderson from Wisconsin, and Marissa Coleman who will be a freshman at Maryland."

Washington, DC

"This is after practice at American University in Washington, D.C. That's Courtney, Abby, and Marissa."

Frankfort, Germany

"This is in Frankfort, Germany. We had a layover there. Courtney wanted an inspirational picture, so that's what this is supposed to be. We're about to get on the flight to go from Germany to Hungary. We went through Frankfort a lot. It seemed like every time we went to a new place we had to go back through Frankfort."

Budapest, Hungary

"They took us one night in Budapest to a really nice restaurant on a boat on a river. It was in downtown Budapest, and up on the bank of the river there was a big castle. It was really pretty. It was how I pictured a European city. That was really fun, and the food was really good. It was one of our only nights in Budapest to get dressed up in normal clothes. That's me, Joelene, Abby and Candice from Stanford."

Tunis, Tunisia

"This is funny. We were like sardines packed in there. This is our media guy. This is our team physician. This is our trainer. We had managers. We had so many people there to help out, it was amazing. It was also crowded!"

"This is cool. This was after practice in Tunisia. That's the Mediterranean. This is the whole team and the coaches. Everyone. On the right, that's Carol Callan, the head of USA Basketball's women's program. She's the lady that makes it all work."

"This is the back of our hotel. This is where we ate breakfast, and that's the main hotel over there. After a month our legs were shot, so we'd have to go to the pool after practice and after games, It was kind of like our ice bath because they didn't have one, so you'd just cool your legs off so hopefully you wouldn't get all sore the next day. It felt really good."


"We didn't see a lot of camels, but we saw a couple. Last year in Puerto Rico, I could speak a little bit of Spanish so I was able to get my point across, but I didn't speak any Arabic, so it was really hard to communicate. I'd hold my camera up and be like, "Could I take a picture?"

"While we were in Tunisia, they took us out to a lot of places. That was cool. We went up this little mountain, and we had tea and pine nuts while we watched the sunset. It was such a pretty view. That's Erica and me."

"While we were in Colorado and DC, they kept finding guys to come practice against us. It's a little harder when you're in Africa where you don't really have contacts. But these guys are Marines who are based in Tunisia that came and practiced against us. US Marines! They were running Russia's plays at us so we could practice against them. And they told us what they do at the embassy and all that. They were really nice!"

"This is the point guard from the Congo team. She had her camera, too. She came over first, and then I was like, "Let me get one too." The Congo had a lot of fans there. The arena was pretty big, and it probably about half filled. But the fans were really great. They all had drums and noisemakers. It was real noisy in there. That was fun."

"This was one of our security guards. They went everywhere with us; one would be in front and one would be behind us. When we'd be negotiating with people in the marketplace and trying to find souvenirs for our friends, the one behind would be like shaking his head if they were trying to rip us off, like 'Don't pay that!' and trying to help us out. So they probably saved us a lot of money!"

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"This guy had snakes and was doing tricks. Then he asked for a volunteer - this is Erlana from North Carolina - and she had no idea what was going on. We were all standing right here watching. He said, 'Be very still because I'm going to put the snake around you!' And she was so tense. But it was a belt. It felt like a snake to her, and we were all just laughing at her. Eventually he really dropped it and she flinched, and he was like, 'It's just a belt!'"

"This is the medal ceremony after we beat Serbia-Montenegro for the championship. Our manager, BJ, took the picture. He was actually taking pictures for everyone."

"And that's the trophy. I'm not sure why it's green. We were all wondering about that. It's pretty heavy, too."

Going Home

"This is in the airport before we flew home. Our flight left at like 2:30 in the morning and obviously nobody wanted to sleep on the last night, and so when we got to the airport, . . . that's Jolene Anderson. That's the last picture I took."

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All photos courtesy of Tina Wirth.
Click on photos to view a larger image.

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