A conversation between Singapore’s first and only Olympic rower and Craftsbury coach Aisyah Mohamed Rafa’ee and Fleet Manager Erika Sloan.
Erika: How did you start rowing?
Aisyah: I was sitting on the rowing machine back in high school when a former rower came over and told me to try out rowing because I had the physique for it. I went to give it a try, but didn’t like it at first because rowing seemed boring. I got hooked onto it when I won my first medal a month after I started rowing and never looked back since then.
E: What do you like about rowing/coaching?
A: I like the fact that rowing is a hard sport, if not the hardest sport there is out there next to cross-country skiing. It makes me physically strong and fit and I like knowing that I can walk into any gym and squat or deadlift pretty heavy stuff- haha! I enjoy coaching because I love sharing my love for the sport to others.
E: How did it feel being the first rower to represent Singapore in the Olympics?
A: Amazing, especially knowing that there were some people who didn’t believe in me and even told me that I wasn’t good enough for the Olympics.
E: How did you end up coming to Craftsbury?
A: I was looking for successful rowing clubs where I can volunteer at in the US because I want to learn what makes a rowing club successful and how rowing summer camps are conducted. I hope to gain experience as I can to open my own rowing club in Singapore one day. While it sounds cliche, I came across Craftsbury on Google and contacted Troy, telling him that I would love to help out in the summer camps! That’s how I found this paradise!
E: What’s your favorite thing about Craftsbury?
A: I love the fact that everyone who came for the rowing summer camp shared the love for rowing- whether they were complete beginners or multiple medal winners. I not only was able to learn from the different coaches but there was so much to take away from the different campers! And it’s all sculling in Craftsbury – can’t be any more perfect than that. Craftsbury being exceptionally beautiful is a bonus, along with the amazing staff who I met during my time there. But if there was one thing that I still think about all the time is the food served. That would be my favorite thing at Craftsbury!