I’m excited to be part of the SHIVSPIX Network that Shivs is putting together. Her vision of connecting people and “sharing the untold stories in sport” connects so closely to my experience and to the sport of rowing in general. As elite athletes, what we go through every day to achieve our goals is considered normal to us, but if I take a step back and think about all the crazy stories and experiences I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned, I realize that no one but my close friends and family hears about them. This is the perfect forum to open it up to the rowing world.
I originally came to the sport as a chubby and reluctant ninth grader who assumed this was going to be another sport in a string of sports I tried and hated. In my family, my brother was a three-sport varsity athlete and I was the non-athlete. I didn’t like the feeling of working out and had very little desire to do it. Nonetheless, a family friend convinced me to come down to the local pond and try rowing, and I decided to give it a go.
I fell in love with it in the beginning because I got to be out on the water every afternoon and had a team that was like a big family to me. Through the early years, I gradually learned just how amazing this sport is. I love the repetitive nature of it and I love that you can always learn something new about the stroke and how to move the boat, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. I love the team aspect and working together with others for a goal. I also love the competition and being able to test myself against the best.
After high school, I was devastated to leave my team and go on to college, but excited for what lay ahead. I never could’ve imagined graduating from Wisconsin with two IRA golds, numerous Eastern Sprints titles, and most importantly, friends that will last a lifetime. Rowing there changed my life and was hands down the best decision I ever made.
Each time I’ve made the national team since college has been its own adventure, and each year was packed with traveling, training in multiple locations and with different partners, and camping out on couches or with host families across the country. I’m excited to share stories from the road – as well as training and racing tips, nutrition ideas, and advice – here!