A member of the 2016 FISU Lightweight Women's Double, we sat down with the Carleton University rower before her races begin in Poland.
1. When/where did you start rowing?
I started rowing when I was 14, in the spring of 2008 with the Regina Rowing Club, where I grew up. I rowed that spring as part of a high school learn-to-row group, and in grade 9 became a member of the competitive junior program. My focus for my first few summers was just to be involved in a sport and improve my abilities. I had some great coaches and groups of teammates which kept me coming back each season with my sights set on a new goal.
2. Since that time, what has been your best race?
It’s pretty hard to pinpoint one best race, but probably one of my best races individually was at the 2015 Ontario University Championships in the Varsity Light single. I had put in a really hard season and placed 3rd, which was the first OUA medal won for the Carleton women since the 1990’s. I was really proud of the improvements I had made throughout the season and happy to be representing my university.
On a crew level, one that comes to mind was at the 2016 Royal Canadian Henley in the senior lightweight women’s 4x. My crew placed 3rd, but we had such a great race and all finished knowing we left it all on the water and went as fast as we possibly could that day.
Again, I don’t think I can pinpoint a specifically worst race I’ve had. I’ve definitely had races where I’ve felt I could have performed better, handled the conditions better, or been more aggressive, but I really try to learn from each race and move forward. I think it’s really important to view each race as a learning experience whether you’re happy with it or not.
4. Do you have any pre-race rituals?
My pre-race rituals usually involve refuelling after a weigh-in, and then getting focused on the race. I love the tactical aspect of racing, so usually that involves going over my race plan and goal for the race. I do an on-land warm up and listen to music and just really try to get in a focused and competitive mindset, either individually or along with my crew.
5. Who is the most inspirational person in your life and why?
The person who has inspired me and had a great influence on my athletic pursuits has been my Dad. I’ve been inspired by his own rowing accomplishments, and by his constant encouragement to push my limits in the sport. He has acted as my coach, and as my cheering section at so many regattas. He has helped me develop the mindset to train my hardest, look for improvements, and then simply see how far you can go. He inspires me to look for positives in every race and training session, set new goals, and take the steps to achieve them. As well, he inspires me with his general love for athleticism and the way he’s shared that with my siblings and me.
6. Alright, some more serious stuff. Who is in your crew and what to they add to boat?
I’m racing the FISU LW2x with my Ottawa Rowing Club teammate Alanna Fogarty. She strokes the boat and technically she brings a really long stroke and solid rhythm. I sit in the bow and I would say I contribute the tactical aspect, and the ability to effectively communicate our race plan. We both have a really focused approach to racing which has served us well in our seasons spent in the boat together. We’ve really developed a great crew dynamic characterized by trust and a respect for each other as athletes.
7. Why is FISU important to you?
For both Alanna and I, FISU is our first experience of racing at the international level. For me this represents a really amazing first step into competition at this higher level, and a great opportunity to race against some world-class athletes. It’s a chance to test ourselves and experience racing at this international stage.
8. Any last shoutouts?
Last shoutouts go to all my teammates in the senior women’s program at the ORC. Every practice we’re out there to push each other, and we’ve all definitely improved as a result of being in this competitive environment. I’ve been so fortunate to have such incredible role models and supportive teammates. As well, I’ve been definitely lucky to have had such amazing coaching right from when I was a junior starting out to now at the ORC. My coaches have all been such dedicated individuals who have encouraged me to push harder and aim higher.
Anna and the other Canadian crews start racing this Friday morning. Follow us on Facebook for updates on their results!
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