Q: Rowing is a relatively obscure sport in the US. How did you first get introduced and interested in rowing?
A: I was first introduced to rowing while I was in high school - I decided to transfer schools with the intention of playing for the football team. The funny thing about my decision to stop playing football was that I thought it was going to be too much work - I was a bit lazy back then. One of my good friends somehow convinced me to go out for the rowing team. I had never heard of rowing, and I had no idea what it would entail. As it turns out it was probably the sport that would require the most work, and to this day I really don‘t know what made me stick with it. I will say, that from the first moment I got in a boat, the opportunity to be out on the water every day mixed with the feeling of moving a boat in unison with my teammates was the most unique sporting experience I had had.
Q: You’ve competed at the highest level of the sport traveling to numerous world championships and now training for a spot at the Olympics. What do you think has made you so successful?
A: I think it is my constant drive and determination to be better, and my inability to accept anything less than my absolute best at all times. Understandably, it’s not possible to be the best all the time, but I feel like if I am constantly trying to be the best.
Q: It seems like there is a variety of body shapes and physical skills in the sport. Are there qualities, skills, or traits that make someone “good” at rowing?
A: While being tall and having long limbs is helpful, it isn‘t absolutely necessary to be successful in rowing.
The ability to build up an enormous aerobic base is essential for success, and that is true regardless of size or shape. There are a lot of early mornings where you wake up and ask yourself, is it all really worth it?
Q: How do you stay motivated and focused on a goal like making it to the Olympics?
A: Since I started rowing I wanted to compete at the Olympics. It has been a dream of mine for almost 14 years now. What keeps me going is the potential realization of that dream. That said, you have to really commit to putting life on hold because training becomes life. There are a lot of early mornings where you wake up and ask yourself, is it all really worth it? Are all the long hours in the gym, in a boat, on an erg, or any other type of training really worth it? But, it’s thinking about the moment when you‘re sitting at the starting line, an American Flag on your chest, knowing that you’re representing your country at the most elite competition in the world. That’s what gets me through.
Q: What has rowing taught you?
A: Rowing has taught me the power of hard work and perseverance. I know that sounds very cliche, but with rowing the workouts are always long and extremely demanding.
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