One of the really special parts about this Olympic journey that I am enjoying is how it’s connecting me to new people, and reconnecting me to old friends. My best friend from elementary school and I have just recently been back in touch, and it’s so nice to catch up! We were literally joined at the hip in middle school (imagine a hysterically tearful scene set to Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” when I moved away at age 13). My friend Jaki is now a special ed teacher at a Boston public school, McKinley South End Academy, and their summer school program theme is the Olympics. They just sent me a list of questions about rowing and the Olympics, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to give them some answers! Here we go…
1. What is training like? – Carlos S.
Training is a lot of good, solid work. We row on the water for most of our training, but also use the rowing machine and weight lifting as other tools. On average, we train for 5 hours a day, 6 days a week.
2. How much sleep do you get? – Aaliyah
I’m a big sleeper, so I get more than most of my teammates. I need 9-10 hours of sleep a night (and sometimes a nap during the day), so that means very early bedtimes since I’m usually up around 5am for our first practice!
3. Is it hard to row, or is it easy? – Alex
Some days it’s easy, and some days it’s REALLY hard! The goal is always to make hard work feel as easy as possible so that you can be efficient with your energy and keep pushing for more.
4. What is your job in the race? – Brittaney
My job and my partner’s job are a little bit different. I sit in the bow seat (I cross the finish line first and look at my partner’s back) and my partner sits in stroke seat. It’s my job to completely match and follow my partner, Sarah. She sets the tempo, and I do whatever she does. It’s also my job to call our race plan, which means that I will tell her when I think we should make a big push or when it’s time to sprint!
5. Are you nervous about the Olympics? – Jordan
I am definitely a bit nervous to race, but at this point, I’m just excited! I think I got a lot of my jitters out earlier in the week and now I’m ready to get on the line and show my stuff.
6. How long have you been rowing? – Carlos V.
I’ve been rowing since I was a freshman in high school, so this is my tenth year of rowing!
Fun fact: In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, Gladwell theorizes that in order to completely master any skill, you need 10,000 hours of practice. I did a rough calculation of the time I have spent rowing thusfar (I’m including erging), and I’m still only at about 6,000 hours. In order to hit your 10,000 hours in rowing, the easiest way to do it is row collegiately and then complete a full four year cycle on the elite level. Even then, you can still be a little short on 10,000.
7. How did you start rowing? – Alex
I was encouraged to start rowing in high school because I am pretty tall. I was a swimmer in high school before I tried rowing, and a lot of swimmers end up being good rowers.
8. What are you most excited about? – Ms. Fishkin
I am the most excited to sit at the starting line of my heat, take a deep breath, and then represent my country the best I can! I am so honored to be a part of Team USA and want to make everyone from my hometown, my university, and my country as proud as I possibly can!
So keep working hard, class WS4! Find something that you love, and stick with it. Hard work will get you further than you could ever imagine.