After my freshman year, I was recruited to the U-23 National Team. I got cut, but the experience taught me a lot and fired me up to work hard that year and come back better. The following summer, I made the U-23 team and won gold in the 8+ at the U-23 World Championships, then was asked back to try out for the Senior National Team. I earned a seat in the 4-, and took bronze at the Senior World Championships. It was an incredibly exciting opportunity, and I realized rowing was something I wanted to commit even more to.
The summer before my senior year, I made the decision to take the year off from school and try out for the 2008 Olympic Team. I started off the year as one of the slowest people on the team, but gradually, my fitness improved, and I got the opportunity to race with some incredibly talented teammates in the 8+. In the end, I wasn’t quite fast enough, and ended up being the last one cut from the team that went to Beijing. However, the experience again helped me see where I needed to improve and motivated me to get better.
After graduating, I started training with the National Team full-time. Three years, two world championships and a world record later, I was one of the last two athletes to make the boat – and grateful for my experience navigating the extremely stressful Olympic selection. Together with my amazing teammates, we led the race wire-to-wire and won Olympic gold.