Get to know Coach Holly
It was September 1998 and we had just finished some brutal water workout like rowing to CRI and down to the Museum and back, on the Charles River. I was tired, soaking wet and chilly and all I wanted to do was get into the warm shower, when Liz O’Leary the Head Coach of the Radcliffe Varsity Heavyweight Team called me over. I walked over with my tail between my legs assuming I had done something wrong- blade not fast enough to the water, not sitting up enough at the catch, not long enough in the water… Liz looked me right in the eye and said: “I want you to make the Varsity 8.” And then she turned around and left. I stood there and whispered “Excuse me?”
I was 5’6 and 145lbs … and Liz O’Leary, the Head Coach of Harvard/Radcliffe wants ME to make the Varsity 8? The fact that I was even at Harvard University and wearing a Radcliffe jersey was a miracle in my opinion…the Varsity Heavyweight 8? You must be mistaken! That will never happen…
But it did and I made it happen.
I asked myself everyday “What can I do today so that I will achieve my goals?”
I have been rowing for a long time. I started rowing as a freshman in high school on a fledgling program at the Bolles School in Jacksonville. I only rowed in the spring season because I also played soccer. You can imagine how many friends I had on that team when I bumped one of their friends out of their boat. I fell in love with the sport quickly and knew that I wanted to row at a more advanced program. So I left my home, parents and friends to attend St. Andrew’s School, a small boarding school in Middletown Delaware with an excellent rowing team.
As a new junior, I made the Varsity 8 and we were one of the fastest junior crews in the country. A bit of a pipsqueak, I taught myself to row both sides so that I had a greater chance of making a top boat and my senior year wound up rowing the 7 seat in the Varsity 8 that won silver at Stotesbury and went on to win the Women's Henley Regatta in England for the first (and last) time in St. Andrew’s history. It was a highlight of my career – I had already been admitted to Harvard and was planning on donning the black and white under Head Coach Liz O’Leary. I was flying high – life was great.
Only… I didn’t prepare or even know how to prepare for the transition between St. Andrew’s and Harvard and it took me all four years to do it.
I have designed my programs to help you with college selection, preparation and ultimately, success.