Ever since the entire U.S. Olympic Rowing team was named last month on June 22, things have been full-tilt CRAZY here in Princeton, NJ! The support and attention our sport has received is so incredible and very exciting! The women’s team participated in three “media days” on June 23, 24, and 25 where the boathouse was swarming with reporters and camera crews all excited to get interviews and catch our rowing on film. You can read a lot of the interviews in my “USA Rowing in the News” section where I’ve been posting new articles that pop up every day.
Once the buzz of the team being named and the three “media days” had passed, we officially entered a “blackout” period. This means that we went back to intense, focused training, and there will be no more media at the boathouse until we leave for London. Although the media craze has subsided, the support from our friends, families, community members, and fellow rowing supporters has continued to flow in at a steady rate. I am so thankful for the many, many people who have reached out to me to show their support. It makes me feel like I will be traveling to London with a secret weapon – the hundreds of well wishes from people I care about hiding in my back pocket.
The support from my hometown, Simsbury, Connecticut, has been especially incredible. I snuck home for the weekend right after I made the team and was surprised with a huge welcoming committee at the bottom of my street! All of my neighbors were outside waiting for me, cheering and holding American flags, and each of them had displayed homemade signs out on their front lawn. I was so surprised by their sweet gesture that the sight made me burst into tears. Since my visit home, my family has been sending me pictures each time they see a new symbol of support around town. Apparently the center of town is littered with these really cool signs wishing me luck on my Olympic adventure. So cool!
I heard of the most recent kind gesture tonight when I was Skyping with my family. Apparently, my high school rowing teammate Ashley Mitchell stopped by my family’s house with a gift from many of my fellow Trojan rowers. They brought me this HUGE, beautiful package of spa essentials for me to use for relaxation once all the craze from London winds down. And with their package was this amazing card covered in pictures from my SHS days. So thank you to Ashley Mitchell, Brett Dietz, Cleo Rahmy, Amelia Ebel, Kristen Layden, Aly Moreno, Ashley Cummings, Nicole Graham, Jim Oleskewicz, Jon Perkins, Elle Conover, Kristen Koproske, Meg Loftus, Pete Kruse, Tyler McKinley, Lauren Digrazia, Katie Oranges, Amanda Pujda, Jackie Cross, and all the other SHS rowers who helped me get to where I am today. The memories I have from my spring seasons at the Paine boathouse are filled with all of you, and for that I am so grateful. This support has made me feel SO loved, and you can bet that I will be bringing my Simsbury unisuit with me to London.
This Thursday will be four weeks that I’ve officially been an Olympian. In that time, my partner Sarah and I, along with the rest of the women’s rowing squad, have been putting in a lot of miles and a lot of great work out on the water. There are only 18 days until my first race, so a lot of our practices have started to become more 2k race specific. That means the intensity and stroke rates are much higher and racing during practice is now more of a regular occurrence than a rarity…JOY! This weekend, much of the men’s squad flew into Princeton from California (where their training base is located). Beside the excitement of having male peers around for once, also comes the opportunity for different racing partners! This morning, almost the entire USA Olympic rowing team was present on Lake Carnegie, and some of our boats even got to race the men’s 8+ (broken down into 4’s).
When I haven’t been on the water training hard in the last few weeks, I’ve been resting, napping, trying to stay cool (we had a massive heat wave here last week), and attempting to pack. The floor of my bedroom is sort of a disaster right now while I try to figure out how to fit almost my entire rowing wardrobe into two suitcases. Our flight for London is next Monday (!), so we’ll be staying in the rowing village for the 10 days leading up to racing. Can’t wait! If anyone has questions or ideas for my next blog post, let me know!
You can be my wing man anytime,