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National Rowing Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Induction Ceremony Weekend

Location – Sarasota, Florida

The National Rowing Hall of Fame – Class of 2016 Induction ceremony took place in Sarasota, Florida on April 23, 2016. For a recap of the event, including photographs, please visit row2k for more details.

The Class of 2016 Induction ceremony happened at the same time as the 2016 Olympic Rowing trials in Sarasota at Nathan Benderson Park. The weekend was a great celebration of rowing, honoring the inductees from the Class of 2016 and the athletes racing to represent the US at the Rio Olympics in the following boat classes; W1x, M1x, W2x, M2x, LW2x, LM2x, M4x.

2016 Rowing Calendar

National Teams
Events
Dates
Location
Boats/Events
Boat Progression

Nat’l Senior Selection Regatta: NSR 1

3/21-24
Chula Vista

Senior Team W2-,
M2-Senior LM2-

World Cup 2 or 8+, 4x, and 4- campInvite to LM4- camp

Para-Olympics Trials
4/6-7
Mercer Lake
TAMix
U.S. Olympic Team
FISA World Cup 1
4/15-17
Verese, Italy
Possible participation
Para-Olympics Trials 4/17-24 Sarasota, FL ASW1X, ASM1x U.S. Olympic Team
US Olympic Trials 1 4/18-24 Sarasota, FL Previously qualified Senior events: W1x, W2x, LW2x, LM2x

Unqualified Senior events: M1x, M2x, M4x

U.S. Olympic Team

FISA World Cup 2

FISA World Cup 2 5/27-29 Lucerne, Switzerland

Last qualifying regatta for the Olympics: M1x, M2x, M4x, M8+

W2-, M2- if attended

U.S. Olympic Team
Olympic Trials 2 6/19-22 Mercer Lake W2-, M2- if no attendance at WC2 U.S. Olympic team
Final Senior Team Selection 6/20 W8+, W4x, M4-, LM4- U.S. Olympic team
U23 Worlds Selection Camp 6/20-7/6 Hanover, NH
Olympic Games 8/6-14 Rio de Janerio
Senior Worlds
U23 Worlds
Junior Worlds

Paralympic Games

8/21-28

 

9/7-18

Rotterdam, Netherlands
Rio de Janerio
 

 

 

National Rowing Foundation
San Diego Crew Classic 4/2-3 Mission Bay NRF Beer & Brats reception for all with Senior team
National Rowing Hall of Fame Induction Gala 4/24 Sarasota, FL 6 Boats and two patrons; all invited
Tim Hosea Golf Outing 6/6 Princeton, NJ

“Henley Royal Regatta Reception

6/28-7/3 Henley-on-Thames NRF reception for friends and families of U.S. athletes
Junior Worlds Championships 8/21-8/28 Rotterdam, Netherlands NRF reception for friends and families of U.S. athletes
Head of the Charles Regatta 10/22-23 Cambridge, MA NRF reception for friends and families of U.S. athletes
Head of the Schuylkill Regatta 10/29 Philadelphia, PA NRF reception w/ Nat’l Team Athletes
Head of the Hooch TBD Chattanooga, TN NRF reception w/ Nat’l Team Athletes
Golden Oars Gala 11/17 New York, NY

National Selection Regatta (NSR) 1 Recap

National Selection Regatta 1 this year was a windy and cold affair. While all of the racing did take place, the weather did not want to cooperate. Racing was cancelled one day and almost all of the practice sessions were cancelled due to high winds. But despite all of that some great racing was had and the first step to the World Championships was taken.

We were able to talk to many of the winners and get some incite into how the races played out in their minds. We also asked them what was next and while some were surer than others they all said, “Get faster”.

W2-

Eleanor Logan and Felice Mueller were the first winners of the day in the women’s pair. Felice had this to say about the race and the regatta. “I feel good about the race. Every day we raced we continued to improve on things. We believe can be better.” Eleanor and Felice did not know what the future held for them, but they did say that they would be heading to Europe with a group of woman to race in the World Cup. Felice ended with this thought about the group she has been training with, “ I truly believe that with all the talent we have at the training center, there is no limit on speed.”

M2-

Matt Miller and Alex Karwoski won the men’s pair in what was a very competitive field. “We were happy with our race. We went in with a plan to get out quickly in the first 500 and then hold off the field in the second quarter without over working. The Weil/Cole pair made a great push through the middle of the race, eating into our lead. We made a few shifts in pressure just before and just after the 1000 and eventually regained our starting margin, which put us in a comfortable spot for the sprint. Alex called the race perfectly and provided great motivation,” said Matt about the race. Matt and Alex said they didn’t know what the rest of the summer held for them, but they haven’t ruled out racing the pair. Right now, however, they are “focused on making the camp boats, the eight and the four, as fast as possible. “

W2x

Ellen Tomek and Meghan O’Leary won the women’s double for the third year in a row. Their race plan was one that was used by many other winning crews in the rough water. They said, “We knew that everyone would start out fast, so we just stayed as relaxed as we could and made sure we pushed away with every stroke once we hit our base rhythm. The water was a bit bumpy, and we had one or two mishaps with our oars, so we just decided to cruise to make sure we held the lead that we had gotten in the first half.” As for their plans this summer, ”We are still finalizing our plans, but we are leaning toward racing at World Cup II. Neither of us has ever been to Varese, and we have heard it is a beautiful course. It would also give us more time to train between the World Cup trip and the World Championship trip or Trials if we don’t qualify at the World Cup.”

M2x

In the men’s double Ben Dann and John Graves made up the winning crew. These two had a better idea than most about what is next for them. They are planning on heading back up to Craftsbury to try and put together a quad.

LW2x

This may have been the most exciting race of the day. 500m into the first running of it one of Michelle Sechser oars snapped and the race was stopped. All of the women rowed back to the dock and the race was rescheduled for the last race of the day. Michelle Sechser and her partner Devery Karz went on to win the event even after all the adversity they had to deal with. The two of them were not sure what the future held for them (as you can see this was a common theme), but they thought they would be headed to Europe to try and qualify the boat at a World Cup.

LM2-

Will Daly and Edward “Mix” King won the lightweight men’s pair. Mix had these comments after the race. “I thought the final on Saturday morning was a solid race from start to finish. My partner and I were pleased with our individual finishing result, but what was more important was the strong performance of the entire lightweight sweep squad…As far as the actual race goes, it was partially driven by the weather conditions on Saturday morning – cold with somewhat choppy conditions as the course went on. This made it extremely important to gain a lead early on in the race so we wouldn’t be forced to make a comeback in the rough second 1000m. We stuck to that plan, got the lead, and were able to execute a controlled finish with only a few minor bobbles and still come out with the win.” The lightweights also were not sure what this summer had in store for them, but they both said the focus was making sure they qualify the boat for the 2016 Olympics.

LM1x

Nick Trojan was the winner in the lightweight men’s single, “I feel really good now that the first race of the season is out of the way and that it started and ended on such a good note. I had trained for that race to get more speed out of the beginning and base of the race instead of relying on a sprinting tactic that is much more risky. So I was able to get an early lead in the final and relied on the fitness to keep me ahead for the rest of the race.” He said his plan is to head back to Seattle to join up with his coach Carlos Dinares and keep training the single with the ultimate goal of trying to represent the US in the lightweight single in the 2015 World Championships.

W1x

Katherine McFetridge won the women’s single and will be coming back to NSR 2 to compete in the same event. There were some noticeable absentees in this race since it was only a speed order event, among the absentees was 2012 Olympian Gevvie Stone.

M1x

William Cowles won the men’s single. He will also be heading back to Craftsbury with his club mates Ben Dann and John Graves to try and put together a quad. If that doesn’t workout however he could be back at NSR 2 contesting the single.

Getting to Know the Athletes

Getting to Know the Athletes

Seth Weil Vicky Opitz, stroke of the men’s 4- and bow of the woman’s 8+ at the 2014 World Championships, had a few words to share with us. Talking of their starts in rowing, the rough races they have had and even a bit of advice that has helped them in their success.

 

Seth Weil 

The basics – Where are you from? Where/When did you learn to row? What University did you attend?

I was born and raised in Menlo Park, California and I learned to row as a walk on at the University of California, Davis.  

What other sports did you play growing up? Do you think any of these affected you positively in your transition to rowing?

I spent most of my time Windsurfing and Sailing. During the summer I would teach sailing camps in the morning and then go out and windsurf with my friends for the rest of the day. I’m not sure if windsurfing itself helped, but seeing people learn how to control their bodies definitely helped when it came to receiving coaching later on in rowing.  

What is your fondest memory of rowing to this point?

My fondest rowing memory is tricky…I can throw out a few contenders though. Being able to race the last two World Championships. Winning Lucerne as a team was awesome. In general, traveling around the world with friends is tough the beat. Last, but not least, winning the intermediate single at Club Nationals!

What is your most embarrassing rowing memory, flipping, ejection crab and the like?

Getting last place at head of the Charles in the 1x! I am still incredibly glad I raced this particular race.

You have had a pretty incredible run in the 4- since you have been on the team, what has that been like?  Did you feel like there was any pressure when you first joined that boat in 2013 after the performance after the olympics?

Oh man… The first year on the team I was a bit overwhelmed by everything.  To be honest, I didn’t have any mental space to think about the Olympics… or even the next five hundred meters.  At that point I had limited my responsibilities (thankfully my teammates picked up the slack) to just pulling hard and trying to slot into the rhythm as best I could. I also think the attitude on the team was also very forward thinking. It was a new cycle with new challenges etc.

For other young guys still in school or just finishing and hoping to join the team what advice would you give? You took a less traditional route before you joined the team would you recommend that to anyone else?

Go get experience.  Find out where the fastest guys are in your area and go train/race/watch them.  You can never find a substitute for experience. Ask if you can watch a workout or join in on one.  Race in races you have no business being in. It is unlikely you will be invited to gain the experience you need so find a way to get it. It takes thick skin and a lot of rejection. Doing anything well is all about the details — the things people don’t write or talk about.

Lastly, what is one interesting fact about yourself that not many people know?

The tendon in my right pinky finger is severed so it doesn’t bend correctly.  Keep your digits away from garbage disposals!

 

Vicky Opitz

Vicky Opitz

The basics – Where are you from? Where/When did you learn to row? What University did you attend?

I am from Middleton WI.  I attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison. (Go Badgers!)  I went to a learn to row camp at the University of Wisconsin – Madison before my freshman year of college there.

What other sports did you play growing up? Do you think any of these affected you positively in your transition to rowing?

Growing up I played a lot of tennis.  This was my main sport till I got to college.  Before Highschool I did dance (ballet, tap and jazz) and swim team.  Highschool I was tennis, basketball, and soccer. I would say all of these affected me positively in my transition to rowing.  I think having sports that teach you body awareness and that have different focuses (be it technical or learning to work together with others) help with rowing.

What is your fondest memory of rowing to this point?

Ok, I have two.  The first one is winning Big Ten’s as a team my senior year of college.  We had been so close every year before and 2010 was the year we made it happen.  Senior team memory would have to be my first international race wearing a “USA” uni.  This was Lucerne 2013, most of us in the 8+ were pretty new to senior team racing and didn’t really know what to expect.  We went out there looking to do our best…we won and set the new world record…it was fantastic!

What is your most embarrassing rowing memory, flipping, ejection crab and the like?

Hard to choose the most embarrassing rowing memory – there have been a lot!  The memory I remember most “fondly” was racing at Club Nationals at Oak Ridge summer 2009 with Grace Latz (former Wisco/ current Senior teammate).  We were racing the pair and were doing pretty well going into the last 600 meters. Then the boat just started to sharply veer off course.  I think we were in lane 2 and did a 5 lane sweep in which we finished off the course…we still came in second though!

When you think about your future in rowing, do you think just about Worlds this year, or do you think long term also, the Rio Olympics and beyond?

I try to concentrate on the here and now, trying to improve and getting a little better every day.  If that keeps happening I hope to keep going and see where that takes me.

It has been said that you may be the happiest person on the Senior Team.  How important do you think a positive attitude is to helping you survive the day to day grind and achieve long term success?

Ha ha!  Not sure how I got that title but I am flattered.  I think it is important to have a positive attitude to survive not just the day to day grind but also long term success.  On a day to day level, rowing is a sport were sometimes things can be going really well and sometimes…not so well.  It’s important to realize that some days aren’t going to be your best no matter what and if you can think about them in a positive way and at least learn something from them then it’s better. Long term positivity is easy.  I love the sport of rowing and training with such a great group of hard working, funny and talented women makes it a joy to do.

You are also known to be quite a connoisseur of donuts.  What makes a good donut? What is your favorite type of donut? Who makes the best donuts?

I can not deny that I have a major sweet tooth when it comes to donuts.  How is it possible to pick a favorite type of donut?!?!?  Ok, first, there are a lot of different types…glazed, twist, cake, fritter, sour cream, filled, sugar, frosted, yeast, french cruller, etc.  What makes a good donut is the texture, for example a good sour cream donut should be kinda crunchy on the outside with a very dense cake on the inside.  If I only had to pick one to eat for eternity it would probably be a cake donut with chocolate frosting.  Who makes the best donuts?  I’m going to have to give a shout out to Federal Donuts in Philadelphia PA.  They make great sugar donuts that are different at each location and they have the most interesting flavors that keep changing, thus, I have to keep going back to try them! 

Lastly, what is one interesting fact about yourself that not many people know?

One interesting fact that many people may not know…..I have my SCUBA license.  Nothing like learning how to scuba dive in the cold waters of Wisconsin!

 

 

National Selection Regatta Held In Princeton, NJ

The official start to the 2014 racing season is here. This weekend’s National Selection Regatta held in Princeton, NJ marks the first opportunity for athletes to make the 2014 Senior National Team that will compete in Amsterdam later this summer. While the selection procedure can be a bit complicated and depends on both the event and number of entries in international competition, many participating athletes are on their way to being named to the team.

There’s no question that the ability to compete internationally earlier in the summer is crucial not only for team selection, but also for better results come the World Championships. The National Rowing Foundation is hugely responsible for sending American rowers to compete in the World Cup circuit by covering airfare, room and board, equipment and other costs. By supporting the NRF, you directly enable American rowers compete at their best abroad. Consider donating here: http://natrowing.org/about/

Here’s what you need to know about how NSR I events may lead to a place on the 2014 Senior National Team:

The events competing at NSR I:

  • Men’s Single (M1x)
  • Women’s Single (W1x)
  • Men’s Pair (M2-)
  • Women’s Pair (W2-)
  • Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-)
  • Lightweight Men’s Single (LW1x)
  • Lightweight Women’s Single (LW1x).

The events that will send NSR I winners to World Cup #2 and/or World Cup #3:

  • Men’s Single (M1x)
  • Women’s Single (W1x)
  • Women’s Pair (W2-)

The events that will determine automatic camp qualification spots for camp boats (M8+, W8+, W4x, M4-, and LM4-)

  • Men’s Pair (M2-)
  • Women’s Pair (W2-)
  • Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-)

The events that treat NSR I as a speed order and have to be selected later in the summer at Senior Trials:

  • Lightweight Men’s Single (LM1x)
  • Lightweight Women’s Single (LW1x)

If the NSR I winners of the M1x and/or the W1x finish in the top 6 at either World Cup #2 or World Cup #3, those athletes are officially named to the 2014 US National Team (unless there are fewer than 12 entries at the World Cup).

Similarly, if the winner of NSR I in the W2- finishes in the top 4 at either World Cup #2 or World Cup #3, those athletes will be officially named to the 2014 US National Team should they accept it (unless there are fewer than 8 entries at the World Cup).

You can follow results and see heat sheets here: http://www.usrowing.org/NationalTeams/OlympicSeniorNationalTeam/SrNTSelectionEvents/2014NSR1/2014NSR1Results.aspx

Athlete Spotlight: Ambrose Puttmann

So far, there are a lot of new faces on the U.S. National Team this quadrennial on both the men’s and women’s side of things. In an effort to introduce rowing fans to the athletes representing us abroad, the NRF will highlight their stories and backgrounds. Up first, Ambrose Puttmann. He was a member of the Bronze medal-winning Men’s 8+ in 2013.

ambrose-puttmann

NRF: What’s the athletic background of your family?

AP: Both my parents played sports in high school, but have no real athletic background and didn’t compete in college. I have a big family, I’m actually one of seven. I’m the quiet one and feel like my parents let me get out of doing things more as a kid because of it. 

NRF: What made you decide to row as a freshman in high school back in 2004?

AP:  Well, basically my parents told me I had to do a sport. I tried to convince my dad to let me do bowling, but I ended up starting to row in the fall. I honestly didn’t really like it at first or really commit to it for a long time. I did end up really liking it sophomore year, I competed at high school nationals in the lightweight 4- and after that race realized how special and great the sport was.

NRF: What was the recruiting process like? Did you know you wanted to row in college?

AP: Well my junior year season wasn’t that great, I was frustrated and didn’t really want to row in college. But, by senior year, I did think about rowing in college. I applied to Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown, but wasn’t sure about rowing so I didn’t receive any recruiting support. By the spring of my senior year, I suddenly really wanted to row but hadn’t gotten in anywhere. My high school coach suggested that I talk to Luke McGee at University of Washington and so I gave him a call and talked to him the next day. He confirmed my grades, SATs and erg score and then encouraged me to apply. It was the middle of my racing season, I ended up getting in and really didn’t know anything about the program. I even asked my buddy if UW had a decent rowing program. As Luke put it, I was the easiest 6:04 he’d ever gotten in, I didn’t even take an official visit.

NRF: How did your experience at the University of Washington help prepare you for such a quick rise to the senior team?

AP: [Michael] Callahan likes to run the team in a national team style. We did a lot of pairs and were given a lot of personal responsibility. It made a big difference, even if I didn’t do a great job of it in college, I was aware of what I needed to do to perform. A lot is up to you, Callahan really tries to stress that, it’s the little things that make the difference. UW also has a lot of really good rowers. It wasn’t until senior year, after having rowed for seven years, that I had a eureka moment and realized that rowing harder doesn’t make you faster, but rowing better and not necessarily harder does.

NRF: Last year, you didn’t compete in Lucerne at the third World Cup, but was moved into the Men’s 8+ for the World Championships. How did that process work?

AP: Well, I came to Princeton last Spring and started training a lot later than the rest of the guys. I felt like I was playing catch up and while I seat raced most of the guys who went to Lucerne, I saw staying home as an opportunity to train. A small group of us stayed in Princeton and did a lot of racing in pairs. We knew Glenn [Ochal] had to leave because of his job following Lucerne, so we did more seat racing and it was very close. We didn’t find out who was in the boat until the afternoon of the naming date.

NRF: How’s your first year of full-time training going?

AP: It’s going well. I’m staying with a host family in Princeton with Seth and it’s been great. We keep each other sane and it’s nice to have someone to talk to and hangout with. The Taylors are a great host family, they let us eat their food, even got us Christmas presents and take really good care of us.

NRF: What do you want to do after you’re done rowing?

AP: I want to be a doctor. Both of my parents are doctors, my sister Mary is a doctor, my other sister is in medical school and my girlfriend just got into UW med school. I already took the MCATs and may apply at the end of 2015.

Check out Ambrose’s USRowing profile here: http://www.usrowing.org/Pressbox/AthleteBios/AmbrosePuttmann.aspx

 

Follow Ambrose (@Puttmannjr) on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/PuttmannJr

Jason Read Recollects Ground Zero

This year marked the 12th anniversary of September 11th. While many of us can remember exactly what we were doing when the attacks occurred, very few were at the scene. Jason Read, 2004 Olympic Gold medalist and 13-time recollection of the event:
Rowing has demonstrated to me the primacy of teamwork, tenacity, sacrifice, and equipped me with the requisite skills to lead under duress while working as a rescue chief after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Working at Ground Zero as a firefighter was a life-changing and penetratingly sad experience.  The level of destruction in Lower Manhattan was cataclysmic.  Despite this, a positive, resilient spirit pervaded in the rubble among countless rescue workers from across the country who worked feverishly as a team to search for survivors in an incredibly risky and toxic environment. When I returned home after working the better part of the first week and began to row again with my pair partner Bryan (Volpenhein) in Princeton, I experienced a fundamental change in my approach to rowing: instead of training to beat people, the focus transitioned to wanting to be the best for our country at the Olympics.  In hindsight this transition is easy to understand based on the totality of events – the greatest loss of civilian life since the Battle of 1812 when the British burned Washington in 1814 – though it surprised me then.
Notably, while at Ground Zero the American flag was a unifying if not steadfast guide post for exhausted rescuers covered in dust.  It was the most significant landmark and served as an important point of orientation while working in a pulverized city environment that all looked the same.
While training and competing at the World Championships, I spent many hours envisioning our team raising the flag in Athens.  The same flag that helped me and my colleagues at Ground Zero.  As we watched the American flag raised in Marathonas, Greece, vivid memories of working at Ground Zero came flooding back.  At that moment a commensurate amount of tears flowed, too.  Thankfully, if not retrospectively awkward, Wyatt (Allen) held my hand the entire time (note: Ed Hewitt pointed out later that we were the only ones holding hands virtually the entire time on the podium!).   
12 years on, I can still vividly recall the acrid smell in the air; the trips to the temporary morgues setup outside the WFC with bodies of innocent men and women who were murdered on that beautiful Tuesday morning; death and destruction were ubiquitous in lower Manhattan; the endless smoldering fires…and dreading making a phone call to then-Olympic Coach Mike Teti, to request (hold your breath), if it would be ok to miss a few practices because I wanted to stay and assist the FDNY for a few more days.  Thankfully, Mike not only granted a usually very difficult (read: impossible) pass, he said, “don’t come home until you find all your [firefighter] brothers.  Stay safe.”
How different our perspectives are as rowers with respect to practice and the fear of missing just a few workouts over the course of a few thousand organized workouts in an Olympic cycle. Time and space have helped heal the seared memories and made me realize as a rower and as a coach that sometimes there are greater events external to the boathouse.  Rowing, and my teammates have undoubtedly helped in that healing process.”
Image
Thank you J.R. for your service and dedication.

Post Olympic Bliss

Now that the Olympics have been over for some time, I thought I might give a quick update on what it’s been like for me since returning home. Just today most of Team USA visited the White House and even shook hands with President Obama, the First Lady and Joe Biden! I’m pretty bummed I wasn’t able to venture out to Washington DC, but several athletes blogged about their experiences, including rowers Susan Francia and Nick LaCava here.

While I can’t speak to my teammates’ experiences, ever since returning home things have been non-stop. I was able to spend three weeks in Colorado, which has been the longest amount of time I’ve been home since high school. What was really great about being home was the fact that I had the chance to catch up with some old friends and even some of my high school teachers. My dad hosted a welcome home party for me the first weekend I got home, complete with framed Olympic pictures and catered food, which was really just so sweet, if not embarrassing. Again, I got to see people I hadn’t seen in years, all of whom have been following my journey and have been huge supporters of me in one way or another.  I spoke at three elementary schools about my experiences and how I picked up the sport of rowing, which to be honest was the most rewarding part of it all. While I wasn’t super excited about going beforehand, it really was such a rewarding experience seeing in person how kids just light up when talking about their role models and favorite athletes. Everybody watched the Olympics and were inspired by it all.  Many students made me handmade cards with their take on what rowing really is. They were too cute, especially their portrayal of Mary. Many of them made her look like a monster yelling at us not to jump out (don’t worry Mary I set them straight!).  I also had the opportunity to attend a school board meeting and even spoke at my high school’s pep rally, it was very strange being back on our football field that’s for sure. The administrators could not have been more welcoming. My last night at home I was invited to the Denver Broncos game along with several other Colorado Olympians. It was SO cool being on the field while the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Broncos warmed up and kicked off. They awarded us with beautiful hand-painted footballs with the rings and our names on them. We also got to enjoy watching the game in a suite together. The highlight of that night was getting to share it with my grandfather, Red Miller, the former head coach of the Denver Broncos. He LOVED being on the field again and was a great source of information on the ins and outs of the game.

From Colorado, I took a red-eye to NYC and attended the WNBA Inspirational Women Luncheon as a representative of the Women’s 8+. That was an especially fun event because not only did I get to meet some of the other female Olympic medalists, but I also met many pro players. These women were amazing and amazingly tall! Plus they all wore heels, which I loved. I felt short for the first time, really ever. The whole event was very well done and made me feel so grateful for my teammates and what we were able to accomplish. I definitely find myself getting nostalgic already and really missing the other women in my boat. From there I flew to San Francisco, where I am now, to attend the OCTanner Executive Summit. I had the opportunity to speak about my journey to the Olympics and more about the sport of rowing. OCTanner donates all the rings that every single Olympian, coach and staff member receive each Olympic Games, so they handed me mine while on stage, it’s incredible, I haven’t taken it off since. I really enjoyed not only being in such a neat environment, but also meeting such likable, optimistic people. Many of them work in HR too, so I tried to pick their brains as much as possible about what they look for in a possible hire. I feel like I need all the job advice I can get!

So, that’s what the last few weeks have been like for me. Looking ahead, Ms. Mary Whipple is soon to be married, which I can’t wait for and then I’m back East for the foreseeable future. There is a Women’s 8+ being put together for the Head of the Charles, which I will be racing in, so I’m looking forward to some good ol’ head racing.

Lots to look forward to and be thankful for. Can’t wait to get back in a boat though!

As always, thank you for your love and support and hope to see many of you soon!

 

The 2012 Olympians at the WNBA Inspirational Women Luncheon in NYC on 9/10

 

My grandfather, Red Miller, his wife Nan and I back home in Colorado

The 2012 Colorado Olympians at the Denver Broncos games versus the Steelers on 9/9.

 

 

One Big Olympic Post

Well, the Olympic Games are over. What an amazing, crazy, overwhelming, unbelievable and fun experience it was. The Women’s 8+ finished on August 2nd, so we got to spend a good ten days enjoying the Games and London, which proved to be perfect, but definitely exhausting.

First, I will share some of my thoughts on our race before getting to the real dirt! On the morning of the 2nd, I could tell we were so ready. Not only had it been four days since we’d raced the heat, but our taper was in full effect so we had a lot (too much) energy and emotions were running a little high.  When we pushed off the dock, the Canadian Women’s 8+ was right there waiting for us to launch and I was immediately fired up. We did our normal warm-up and even got to do a start in our lane, which we rarely do before a race. I remember being extremely nervous at one point, but then consciously calming myself down somehow once we pulled into the blocks. And then, before I knew it we were starting. We got out immediately and continued to take seats until we were ahead bow to stern before the 750m. I remember thinking “is this really happening?” I think we all expected to be racing seat for seat, so to be that far ahead that early on, was really exciting and I think it gave us renewed energy coming across the 1000. Although, for me personally I had to dig deep starting at about the 1100m. Usually you hit a point where you have to be super tough, which usually happens around the 1500, a point where you have to decide what you want and ignore all your body’s attempts to stop.  So, feeling that way at the 1100 was not the greatest thing, but somehow I was able to find another gear along with my teammates. Crossing that line first and being completely and utterly dead was a feeling I will never forget. Standing on the awards dock, being awarded the Olympic Gold and listening to our anthem play was indescribable, something that I was so humbled by and happy to share with my teammates and my family. But, I was most proud of the way we raced. We rowed to our potential and we left nothing out there. In Bled in 2011 and in Lucerne earlier this year, I came away from our performances feeling unsatisfied because I felt like we had more and we for some reason didn’t execute like we could have. I’m so beyond happy that we were able to win the gold on our terms in London. We collectively raced to our potential.

After we won, things were crazy. I don’t think I checked my email for a good four days. I also felt so extremely busy, I wasn’t able to sleep in until the last Saturday of the Games. The Friday after our race, we were featured on several different news sources, including the Today Show and E! News with Bruce Jenner. Then we went immediately to the NRF/USRowing reception at the USA House. What was really fun was watching other events. Trying to get a ticket proved to be somewhat difficult, you had to sign up two days in advance for any and all events, however it wasn’t a guarantee and you had to collect your ticket at a certain time before the start of the event. I did get to see Track and Field, Men’s Triathlon and Women’s Boxing amongst others, which was the highlight of being at the Games post-racing. Getting to see the world’s best athletes up close doing what they do best was unreal. On our way to the stadium for the Track and Field events, the day of the 200m final actually, we took the athlete bus and literally sat next to Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, the Jamaicans who placed top three. So, that was pretty cool to see them jammin’ out on their Jamaican Beats headphones and getting pumped up to race.  Having the opportunity to meet other athletes was also really exciting, however I tried to balance my excitement with respecting their privacy and time, because I’m sure many of them were constantly bombarded by people.  I met Sarah Groff, the American triathlete who had the gutsiest race I think I’ve ever seen and ended up placing fourth. I met Serena Williams, she was actually a lot smaller than I pictured, I think I have body dismorphia in that I don’t think of myself as that tall or that big, but let me tell you, I am definitely a lot taller and bigger than most of the female athletes. I was shocked at how small the female sprinters looked and how short the swimmers were!

All in all, my Olympic experience was something I’ll never forget. I had a fabulous time in London, the sheer number of volunteers and security officers made getting around and exploring easy and enjoyable. I am so happy to be home though. All the hype and aftermath of racing was awesome, but tiring. Now I get to spend time with my family and try to figure out what’s next!

As always, thank you to everyone who made my and my teammates’ Olympic dreams possible. The sheer amount of love and support I have felt before, during and after racing makes me emotional to think about. I’m not alone in my journey and that means more than anything, even a gold medal.

Thanks again and Go USA!

Note our special guest, Marcia Hooper

Kalmoe, Francia, Ritzel and Martelli

Our stretching tent, Team USA got four tents to use while competing in Eton

Note the awkward mascot, Wenlock, trying to give Bolt that weird little gold stuffed Wenlock.

Yalies all ready for the Closing Ceremonies!

One of my favorite images from the medals dock