I got to catch up with one of my former RSR athletes over break.
The name and school of the athlete have been changed; I call the athlete "Lucy" and the school "University."
Holly: Tell me about a day in the life at University?
Lucy: My alarm goes off 5 days a week at 5:20am and I drive several of the other girls to the boathouse. We row from 6-8:30am and then M, W, F we lift from 9-10am after the row. On Wednesday afternoons we do an afternoon practice and then Tu and Th from 11-12:15 we will do an erg (that is a University free period). We will usually do steady state or fartleks on the erg at that time. We will usually have 2-3 additional OYO erg workouts to do and then Saturdays we row on the water at 8am so I can sleep until 7:30am. We have Sundays off.
Holly: Tell me about your team culture.
Lucy: Everyone's fairly close to one another and we try to keep any drama out of the boathouse. We have good attitudes. There is rarely any grumbling and most people are upbeat and have fun.
Holly: What are you most excited about for this spring?
Lucy: I am really excited to race this spring. Academically everything is going great. It's challenging, but you find the time to do your work.
Holly: When do you find the time to do your work?
Lucy: I did most of my homework at night last year, but this year my schedule allows me to do a lot of it during the day. I am in bed by 10:30pm.
Holly: What have you learned in your first 1 1/2 years?
Lucy: There's always more you can do. You should not let yourself feel defeated - I can always do more - an extra workout, make a technical improvement. It's really constant improvement. You are never stuck at a certain point. When I was in high school I had some back problems and I remember thinking I was stuck there but now I know there are tons of different ways I can get faster.
Holly: Was there anything you learned from me that has helped you through college?
Lucy: Yes, definitely. First, the coaching and intensity of focus and effort working with you was higher and prepared me for what college rowing would be like. Also, the self awareness you taught and the writing you asked of me - we actually do that at University.
Holly: You do? When?
Lucy: Most Saturdays we will write in our journal. They will ask a specific question like "What's the goal for this month?" or "What's the take away from this practice?" We don't share it with anyone like we did with you, but it's helpful that I had done some of that work before.
Holly: What advice would you give current high school athletes?
Lucy: Be sure you want to row. If you really love the sport, you will be fine. But if you are already saying "oh, I hate this" or "Oh I just don't want to go to practice" then you probably aren't going to like college rowing. I would also say try to make friends who are not rowers. Sometimes you will need to decompress with people who are not rowers. You don't want to think about rowing all the time.
Holly: What about recruiting advice?
Lucy: Be on top of responding to coaches. And on your officials, do not look at your phone all the time. I host athletes who are constantly looking at their phones and it tells me that they are not really interested. It's disrespectful. And the coaches will ask our opinion about recruits.
Holly: If you could go back in time to your junior year in high school, what advice would you give yourself?
Lucy: Don't be afraid of the erg. Because it's not going to kill you.
Holly: Didn't I tell you that? Why were you terrified?
Lucy: You did! But I was still so worried about those splits. Not pulling what I thought I should pull or disappointing coaches. Now, we hardly look at our splits- it's almost always just heart rate monitor work. I would tell myself to "chill out."
Holly: Did you ever think you would be here?
Lucy: At the end of my sophomore year if you had told me that I would be a DI athlete I would have said "No way!"
Well, you are Lucy and you are ripping it up! Great work.