And just like that, the 2013 National Selection Regatta #1 is over. Monday began another week of training; things falling right back into place as it was before race week. It’s sort of like that moment after finishing Thanksgiving Dinner when you look down at your clean plate and around the table at the empty serving dishes. So much effort goes into this “big event” that comes around just once a year. Weeks, maybe months of planning; days of traveling; days of cooking; and then it’s all over in a fraction of the time spent preparing for it.
For many of us, we had been focusing on this race for months. Every training session, every erg test, every piece on the water was a step toward preparing and ensuring that we show up in top form for NSR #1. It’s the opportunity to test yourself and see how you stack up against athletes outside the Training Center. Of course we all want to win, but for everyone else who doesn’t take that coveted first place spot and go on to race the single at a World Cup and possibly the World Championships, NSR #1 also acts a measure for big boat selection later in the year. So if you know you’re most likely not going to win the whole thing, you want to make sure you get as close as you can.
This year’s NSR was a solid one for the six women representing the USRowing Training Center in Princeton: Eleanor Logan, Megan Kalmoe, Ellen Tomek, Olivia Coffey, Vicky Opitz and myself. Beginning with Thursday’s Time Trial, the USTC athletes opened the regatta by posting the six fastest times in the Women’s 1x event. Strong performances continued into the afternoon heats with all six women placing within the top two or top three of their respective heats and advancing to the semifinals the following morning.
By the end of Saturday’s Finals racing, the USTC athletes had finished the regatta just as strong as they began it, dominating their respective races. The A Final was stacked: five of the six women were multi-year National Team members including four Olympians: two Gold medalists in the W8+ (Logan a 2-time Gold Medalist; Esther Lofgren, 2012 Gold medalist rowing under Potomac Boat Club); 2-time Olympian and 2012 Bronze medalist in the W4x Megan Kalmoe; and 2008 Beijing Olympian Ellen Tomek. This leaves Stesha Carle, 4-time National Team member and myself, with zero National Team experience. I couldn’t have been more excited, anxious, nervous (insert adjective here) to be going up against such a formidable field of competitors.
Logan took first in the A Final, winning the NSR and thereby earning the right to compete at a 2013 World Cup event this spring to possibly qualify herself to go on and compete at the World Championships. Tomek and Kalmoe took 2nd and 3rd followed by yours truly in 4th place. Opitz won the B Final with Coffey hot on her heels taking 2nd place.
All in all it was a great few days of racing for the USTC athletes. Although we are always competing with each other and continuously ranked against one another, it is exciting to have the opportunity to root for your teammates and want to see them go fast and do well…just not as fast as you.
Every Day Counts.