Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, November 8, 2010
Our race Sunday was so much fun. The experience itself was one of the most memorable of my life. The huge, exuberant New Zealand crowd was roaring so loudly as the race before ours, the men’s double, came into the last 500 meters that it was loud at the starting line, nearly a mile away. We locked into our blocks, waited for the light, and then surged out of the start.
Being a part of an eight is an awesome experience in every race, especially ones where you lock into a rhythm and commitment together. We executed our race plan as we came down the course, and despite the few wobbles and dips that came with bumpy water and a focus on bending the oar with everything we had, it did what we’d hoped it would. We finished with open water on the field and the gold medal we’ve been working towards for the last fifteen months.
Waiting for the awards ceremony, I found myself in tears—it hadn’t hit home that we’d won, that all of my work over the last five years and especially my training since joining the squad in Princeton last October had resulted in earning a seat in the boat I’ve dreamed of rowing in for even longer than that, and that as part of that boat, we’d achieved the goal we’d all set for ourselves. It was a powerful and emotional realization, and I was so happy to be able to share my joy with the women with whom I’d achieved these things.
There is so much further to go, and so much more work to do, before my next intermediate goal—the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia—and my big goal, the London 2012 Olympics, but this moment is so special and I’m celebrating and sharing it with my boatmates and teammates. I’ll be traveling around the North Island in New Zealand for the next week with my friends Stesha Carle (W2x) and Susan Francia (W2-), getting to explore a bit more of this amazing country than what we’ve been able to see around the hotel, course, and on the bus rides between the two! I can’t wait for our adventures, and then to return stateside and be able to share this experience with my family, friends, and teammates.
Thanks, everyone, for following this blog. I plan to continue blogging about training, racing, and my journey towards the 2012 London Olympics, so please check back and check in to learn about where you can read about my adventures! Thanks, too, for all the support and encouragement. None of us would be able to make it to the World Rowing Championships, to the Olympics, or even make it through a year of training at this level without a tremendous amount of support, encouragement, and love from those who understand what this dream is about. So…thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I can’t wait to keep going in pursuit of this dream, and thank you for helping me achieve it.
Friday, November 5, 2010
However, our four ended up recovering from a pretty gruesome crab, doing a great job by not only getting back into contention for a medal but actually ending up on the medal stand. Our women's quad and men's four both raced extremely well and finished fifth in their respective A-finals. In the B-finals this morning, our men's quad raced a gutsy race against New Zealand, finishing a close second. The light women's double was edged at the line by China, also finishing second. Our light men's pair held onto third ahead of Spain. The light men's double had a tough race, finishing fifth. Our crews racing in their A/B semis this morning also had some difficult races: Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg finished fifth in the light men's single, and our men's double ran out of race course in trying to catch France. Both will race in the B-finals on Sunday.
Everyone's wondering a bit what the conditions are going to be like for tomorrow. We have several crews racing tomorrow: the morning starts off with the B-finals for the light men's four, men's pair, women's single, and men's single. Racing will begin at 11:53am local time, or 6:53pm Eastern/3:53pm Pacific. After the lunch break, we'll have the finals for the men's coxed pair, the women's light quad, and the men's light quad, and finally, the women's pair. Those races will begin at 2:03pm local time, or 9:53pm Eastern/6:53pm Pacific.
You can watch all racing live streaming on World Rowing (the link will take you to the pages to watch racing).
If you're following anyone's racing on the team, now is a great time to reach out to them and let them know that you're supporting them. I was so impressed with all of my teammates' performances today--racing so well in such challenging conditions. No matter how fit you are, having to race for a minute longer than you've trained for, plus dealing with whitecaps and huge wind gusts, takes a lot of guts, and I think the USA showed today that they were up to the challenge.
Let's hope for improving conditions for the next two days of finals, and good luck to everyone racing tomorrow!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Today brought several more good races for our team: the W2x and W4x won their repechages, as did the M4-, and Julie Nichols in the LW1x advanced to the A-Final. We also saw some tough races, with the M4x, LW2x, and LM2x duking it out but winding up heading into the petites.
It's a definite change in atmosphere when racing starts. We've been hanging out training for a couple of weeks together, but starting Sunday, we all get wrapped up into our own racing, our own training, our own boats. It's nice to have dinner to socialize, but other than congratulating teammates on races well rowed, we start talking about the races themselves--and competition--a lot less. I guess it's because we spend enough time hashing out the results, good or bad, on our own and with our coaches and roommates and families, that meal times become more of a break from thinking about racing constantly.
I'm lucky to have both of my parents here to watch my racing this weekend. It's been nice to see them, because I usually only see them a few times a year, when we're training in California. It's also nice to meet teammates' parents and families. My boatmate's sister has been adventuring all over the North Island, and we've been vicariously living it up through her stories of bungy jumping and other craziness!
We're looking to log some good training and a lot of rest between now and our final on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who tuned in yesterday. I didn't realize that there wasn't video playing on the website, and it was just the "Live Results Viewer" broadcasting flags moving across the screen. There will indeed be live streaming video of the racing for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday finals on worldrowing.com and universalsports.com, though! A big storm coming through on Friday could change around race times, but I'll post the times for the US crews as soon as they're available.
Good luck to the US Adaptive crews racing their finals tomorrow: Ron Harvey, in the ASM1x Final B at 2:33pm (Wednesday, 9:33pm Eastern, 6:33pm Pacific), and our LTA4+ of Andrew Johnson, Eleni Englert, Emma Preuschl, Eric McDaniel, and Jennifer Sichel racing in the A Final at 3:55pm (Wednesday, 10:55pm Eastern, 7:55pm Pacific)!
P.S. Bonus tune added to the playlist from the last post: our boat's current new favorite, supplied by music guru and pair partner extraordinaire Elle Logan. Check it out at the link below:
Monday, November 1, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
As of yesterday, nearly every federation has taken up residence at the course. The Dutch, Polish, and Swiss teams, who had been training near Taupo (a couple of hours south of the lake), have come up, and the New Zealand squad is training here now, too. The Dutch are also staying at our hotel, making it almost an entirely-rower residence: the US, Netherlands, France, Lithuania, and Serbia are all here!
I posted some photos from our warm-up run, which is a pretty, hilly jog through the New Zealand countryside. More videos to come today--since racing's just around the corner (the New Zealand daily paper actually had a 6-page insert about the World Rowing Championships!), it's time for some video interviews with US team members!