I might as well call this a Florida update. I left for Florida on March 11th, expecting to be heading back to Connecticut after the Spring ...

Training Update - Spring Selection 2019

I might as well call this a Florida update. I left for Florida on March 11th, expecting to be heading back to Connecticut after the Spring Speed Order in late April. I didn’t drive out of the Sunshine State until June 11th. So what happened?

First, let’s talk about lightweight women in the United States. Unlike the heavy/openweight men and women, the lightweight women have no centralized training location. What we do have, though, is a crazy amount of talent scattered throughout the country. In the past, we’ve struggled to field strong lightweight boats across the available boat classes and, finally, there’s some momentum to change that.

Last year, Rosa Kemp, one of my fellow athletes, and I were talking about what we wanted to see from the lightweight women in the U.S.: a big, scary goal that would get us excited about the upcoming year of training and also unite the talent in the country. The second she said it, we both got chills: “Medal in every boat class at the World Championships.”

So, before singles racing, when her coach put out an open invitation to a lightweight women’s camp in Sarasota to put together doubles and select a quad, I knew something good was happening.

And two and a half months later, I emerged from the other side of that quad camp a better, stronger athlete.

But let’s start with the single. My goal for the year was to make the lightweight double. Every decision I made was with that end in mind. And so when I came into singles racing with an invitation to doubles camp already secured, it put me in a tough position mentally. Unfortunately, I didn’t handle that situation well. It took me too long to recognize that budding apathy and check in to racing. I had a solid race, but didn’t attack the opportunity with the ferocity I saw from the top athletes at that event.

Still, I ended up coming into doubles camp in a good position. I was moving boats well and was motivated to overcome my deficiencies in the single. And it wasn’t enough. I rowed a double at Trials with a quad-mate from last year, Margaret Bertasi. Our personalities meshed well and we pushed each other in all the right ways to be better athletes, but a week and a half wasn’t enough time to develop into all we could be. Plus, Michelle Sechser and Christine Cavallo were crazy fast. They set the standard across all boat classes at Trials 2. I’m excited to see what they do at this year’s World Championships. I was very much not on their level and have a lot of work left to do before next year’s doubles trials.

On the bright side, though, it was clear that the depth of field was there to put together an awesome quad. The speed in the lightweight women’s doubles was phenomenal: boats that didn’t make the final at Trials were outperforming winners in other boat classes. And so I came into quad camp very excited about the possibilities.

Twelve fast women showed up in Sarasota ready to fight for their seats. Most days, we ran three quads across and battled and pushed each other to be better than we had ever been. I had the pleasure of rooming with Margaret during camp, and she asked more of me than I could have asked of myself. Somebody told me this winter, “If you’re stuck on a plateau, what you’re missing is a person.” Margy has been that person for me these past two months.

Overall, quad camp was the toughest thing I’ve ever done. I almost quit camp at least three times, exhausted and beaten down. I cried. I sweat, a lot (Florida). I definitely got a few bloody knuckles. Through it all, it was difficult to keep faith in the process, especially in a process I felt wasn’t very clear or logical.

And then, two days before the end of camp, I got in a boat and it was magical.

All of the boats had been moving fast, hitting time standards on steady state workouts. This lineup, though, hit those standards effortlessly.

When we were boated in that lineup to kick off the final day of racing—four 1500m pieces with switches—we got to the start line with the intention of hitting world record pace. On our second row together. And while we didn’t quite hit our target, we moved fast. 

Then I got switched out of the boat. I had to sit on the sidelines, hoping I’d done enough over the last weeks, months, years to make the boat move faster than anybody else could. I felt sick to my stomach, but also at ease, knowing that I had given my best effort that day and also in my preparation.

Practice ended around 8:30am and it felt like an endless wait until results were published at noon, followed by the coach’s recommendations later that afternoon.

I made the boat.

Not only that, but we were fast. You’ll have to wait until Trials 3, when we’ll race for our spots on Team USA, to see just how fast. And I think you’ll want to see.

For now, though, it’s down to business, getting a little fitter and a little faster, and seeing if, through that process, we can become a real team, full of love and commitment to each other.

Catch us at Trials 3 from July 7th-10th. The preliminary race schedule will be published about a week out from the start of racing on the USRowing website. Results will be on herenow.com and there will, unfortunately, be no live streaming of this event, so you’ll have to come watch in person. Racing is held on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ, and you can cheer from the gazebo on the south side of the course, at 500m to go. The boats pass by just meters from shore.

Keep your eyes on my Instagram and Twitter for somewhat regular updates closer to race day.

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