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Can you give us a history of your time on the water to this point?
I started rowing the fall of my freshman year at Shaker High School in Albany NY. At the time, I had been playing baseball year round and wanted to try something new. A friend of my sister, who had just graduated with her, had been on the rowing team at Shaker and told me to give it a shot. I completed my first season as a novice and decided to row again in the spring. I rowed two seat on the varsity 8+ that season, during which we qualified for SRA Nationals. It was a huge step for me from seeing the talent of crews at States compared to the talent of those at Nationals. The summer of my sophomore year my coach took me and my good friend Tom Nesel to Canadian Henley to row a double and a single. Since then I've been competing mostly in the single but have also kept up with sweep rowing at local regattas and practices.
What sculling/rowing achievement are you most proud of?
One race that really sticks out in my mind just happened a few weeks ago, the Canadian Henley. I had just qualified for the Jr. Single Final by placing second in my semi-final to a sculler from Mexico. He had gotten a large lead at the start which made me skeptical going into the final the next day. After being last off of the line, and about six seconds back for the majority of the race I decided with about 750m to go that I was either going to get past this guy or collapse while doing it. I ended up passing him and won by five seconds. To end the season with a race like that was really important to me. I had a different mentality that race than I had during the season. So to me, that was the best race I've had so far. I learned a lot about myself throughout the week of racing, and I will take what I've learned with me into the fall season.
I was really proud for my rowing partner Tom Nesel, not only because he had to row his arms and legs off to make it to the final, but he also placed 4th in the final in a 1985 Van Dusen, nicknamed "The Green Machine." After the single, we placed second in the Jr. 2x to a crew from Mexico, which one of the rowers had placed second in the 1x. We talked with them at the dock and they were extremely friendly and humble. It was a close race, and we were very happy with our time into the headwind.
I've ridden bike with you, I know that you're strong there as well. There are undoubtedly other opportunities available to you for physical achievement, so what is it about this sport that keeps you rowing?
The main reason I row has to be the fact that no matter what, you can always improve upon something, whether it be the catch, the drive, or even just the mental part of rowing. To me, rowing is really the perfect sport in the sense that it combines both the mental and physical aspects of athletics. It requires both strength and endurance along with a huge sense of connection between the boat and the athlete who are in it.
My other passion is triathlon. The training is very compatible with the training for rowing. All are very cyclic and use similar muscles. The training keeps me from getting tired of rowing all the time, and it also helps with saving my joints from injury due to overuse.
What's your average training week look like?
My average training week usually starts out with a bag of potato chips and soda while watching TV for about 4 hours, and then I start doing some intervals on the XBOX console.
Actually, I'm usually on the water about 10 times a week for between 90-120 minutes. I really like to use the bike as cross training, and I get out about 2-3 times a week for anywhere between 40-100 miles. I use the erg about once a week, mainly for more intense workouts. Sunday is usually the rest day when we either row lightly or take the day totally off depending on how we feel.
When did you first attend Craftsbury? You've been here a couple of times, why keep coming back?
I've been to Craftsbury four times, twice as an intern. The past couple of years I've attended camp towards the end of August, right before I start school. It's a great place to wind down, and let myself recuperate from the season. On the other hand, it also is the perfect place to train hard due to the vast amount of resources available. You can really do anything you want, erg, lift, run, swim, row...the list goes on. The food, as you've probably all heard, is also a key component, if not the most important one. Not to mention the fact that Kriston, a baker in the kitchen, lets me take the extra desserts to bring back to the room. Thanks again if you ever read this.
What are your goals/plans for the future both in rowing and outside of rowing?
As of now my goal is to attend a good college with a good lightweight rowing program. I'll be taking some visits this fall to find out which one is right for me. My ultimate goal is to make it to the elite level. Later on I would also like to become more involved with triathlons, especially the Ironman.
You're participating in the internship program, so is working for Pepa as daunting a task as it seems?
Working for Pepa is really not so bad as long as you work hard and do what she says, (and not wake up late...something that I have done and won't let happen again). She is a natural at just about everything. Just last week we taught her how to play four-square, now she's a pro. She's also quite the table tennis player, although I did win the last time we played.
What bit of advice has been most helpful to you as a junior rower?
A quote that has impacted my life greatly is "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" - Vince Lombardi
To me, it means that winning isn't everything, but wanting to is. Other than that, my coach, Burt Apfelbaum, has led me through my high school career has been the most helpful influence. I can't thank him enough for everything he's done for me, which includes waking up to meet me at the boathouse at 5:15 am before school starts, so that I can get extra practices in, along with coming to a race even though he's already taken a week off from his job so that he can help me train. I feel that the best part about him is that he really looks out for the guys on the team long term. He wants everyone to have fun while still rowing hard, which is something he's accomplished every year I've been here.