Earlier in our Team USA Interview Series we featured rower Margot Shumway. Today we show you our conversation with her partner, Sarah Trowbridge. While rowing is not generally one of the first events that come to mind when American’s think about the Olympics, Sarah and Margot do not let that bother them. These are two athletes that continue to be passionate about the sport and their work shows.
Sarah is making her first trip to the Olympics. She’s excited for the experience.
1. As a first time Olympian, aside from competing, what are you most looking forward to in terms of the experience of being in the Olympics?
There will be 10,500 insane athletes, from 205 countries, participating in 26 sports, all in one village. It will be a feeling like no other.
2. Throughout your career, did the accomplishment of participating in the Olympic Games always seem attainable?
Definitely not. I can’t imagine anyone feeling that way 100 percent of the time. I think the belief in myself to be of Olympic caliber was the most unwavering feeling I had, and that helped me get through moments of incredible odds in my career.
3. Is representing the US in the Olympic Games the highest accomplishment for an athlete?
I think the highest accomplishment for an athlete is believing you reached your absolute best. If you can walk away from your sport knowing you pushed yourself to be the absolute fastest, strongest, or highest, your potential would allow, then I think that is the most amazing and elusive accomplishment.
4. In your eyes, as a top competitor in your sport heading into London, is winning Gold simply a goal, or is it the only option?
I love to race to win. Sometimes there are different battles and victories that this pertains to, though. So although Gold is on the horizon, winning small victories can be the focus.
5. Is there a special camaraderie that exists between fellow Olympians? If any member of Team USA were to win a medal, would it be as if you won it as well?
This is my first Olympics, so I can’t speak to the feeling all that well. I do believe I will feel a deep respect for the immense pride that comes at that moment and a victory our whole country will share.
6. Rowing is not an easy sport. It’s one that requires a great deal of stamina and upper body strength. What type of training do you do for these events?
It is a common misconception that rowing is predominantly upper body. It’s actually really a leg driven sport that requires the whole body to produce speed. In terms of stamina, I do the rowing motion for long periods of time, maybe even three hours a day. For weights, I like to mix it up and doing explosive activities that keep you on your toes as well as getting in there and doing some really heavy squats, power cleans, and bench press. Cross training usually provides a little break from the monotony of rowing and that can include running, cycling, or a hip-hop class here and there.
7. Is it ever frustrating to you that rowing does not typically get the notoriety that some other Olympic events do?
I think rowing has been gaining exposure over the last ten years, but rowers also tend to like things the hard way. So training for something where there is not a lot of prize money, endorsements, or TV coverage, but just doing it to see how far you can go and how hard you can push is right in line with the rower mentality.
8. You will be competing in double-sculls with partner Margot Shumway. How important is it to be close with and know your partner in order to succeed in this event?
I think people thrive off of different types of relationships, but having been good friends for a long time is something that works well for the two of us. It’s almost like we’re past the point of being good friends and we’re more like sisters. We get all that goes along with being family…like arguing and laughing. It also means we have a huge amount of trust in one another when we go to the starting line. That’s irreplaceable.
9. Your father, John, was an Olympian. How gratifying is it for you to follow in his footsteps and carry on the family name as Olympians?
Although my father is an Olympic caliber dad, he has not actually gone to the Olympics. I am beyond excited to have him and my mom there, since they’re in my heart every time I race.
10. In terms of the actual race, what is the most important part? Is it a quick start, keeping a smooth rhythm throughout, or something else?
I’ll choose C. Something else. I think that you can’t define the most important part of the race because it all contributes to raw speed. The most important part is getting your bow ball in front at the finish line.
We will continue our 2012 Team USA / London Olympics Interview Series all month leading up to the start of the Games. Find all the interviews and more Team USA coverage on the DoubleGSports.com Team USA page.