June 21, 2010
Big Ten Athlete of the Year and First Team All-America selection Emily Regan is training this summer with US Rowing, competing for a spot on the US U-23 team that will compete in Belarus in August. Regan will be turning in a bi-weekly journal from her experiences at this camp to give an inside look at the training and experiences that she'll be having during this fun, yet intense and competitive, summer.
Almost three weeks ago I left Sacramento after the NCAA Regatta with my dad to come down to the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Ca. I've been spending the past 18 days training twice a day in what is essentially a really long try out to make a boat for the Under-23 world championships in Brest, Belarus this summer.
Most mornings, we will start at 6:30 to do a 20 minute warm-up run. After the run, we meet as a group with the coaches to go over what the plan is for the morning row, and then we go out on the water. In most of the morning practices we do race pieces either at low rates (between 20-26 strokes per minute) or higher rates (around 30-32 smp). The amount of strokes that we take per minute in rowing helps to determine the intensity of the practice, so the higher the stroke rate that we row at, the more intense the piece. After about 1.5-2 hours on the water, we would then be free until around 3 when our afternoon practices normally start. For most afternoon practices, we do a less intense row. The afternoon rows have been used to build our aerobic base back up from racing season and to get used to the lineup that we would be in the next morning for our race pieces.
The Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista is really cool. There are elite athletes there from a lot of different sports ranging from Archery, BMX, and field hockey, to sports like Track and Field. There are also some Paralympic Athletes training at the OTC, which I think is really amazing. I've been able to see a lot here, although, we haven't been able to leave the training center. Since none of us have cars here, the only time we have the chance to leave the OTC is Tuesday nights for a group Target run. We all really look forward to that opportunity to see new things outside of the OTC every Tuesday night for the OTC.
Outside of practicing, one of the best things that we were able to do here in Chula Vista is teach the US National Water Polo Team how to row. It reminded me of last fall when we got to teach the hockey team how to row. It was funny, because it is easy to forget how difficult rowing can be for people who have never rowed before. Some mistakes were interesting because there were people trying to put the oars in the water upside down, or people who forgot to use their legs. Teaching the water polo team our sport gave all of us the opportunity to relax a little bit and really enjoy being on the water for the morning.
The past 4 years that I spent rowing for MSU prepared me really well for this experience. This year we rowed in a lot of mixed lineups with different people almost every day. Rowing with new people every day at practice helped me to adapt to the different styles and techniques that people use in their strokes from other schools. I have definitely learned that there are many more ways and techniques of rowing than one might think for a sport that repeats the same motion over and over again down the race course. But, being able to race and compete with different people at school every day has helped me out a ton here so far.
I have also come to the realization that I am in much better physical shape than I thought. About a week ago we did a 6000m piece on the ergomoters (erg machine, for short) which are machines that we use to train on in the winter when the water is frozen over. (Essentially, an erg for a rower is the same as what treadmills are for runners.) We do 6k's every month at school in the fall, but in the spring we train mostly for 2k's. So, since we had just finished racing season, I didn't think I would be able to pull a very good time. I was wrong; I got my personal best (even if it was only a few tenths of a second faster).
The biggest difference about training for the U23 team is that the girls who are my teammates here are people who I competed against for the past four years. They have always been my rivals, but now they are becoming my friends and teammates. I guess I'll have to understand that some of my old competitors are now my teammates, while people like Laura Cowal, who was and will always be my teammate, will also be my competitor now. [Cowal is at the U-23 camp for Canada] I think that's going to take some time to get used to - especially the first time that I see Laura in a different boat than me at the start line!
We're looking forward to heading to Princeton, NJ on Friday to continue the selection process. Princeton is where the National Team trains for most of the year, so it will be exciting to meet people in my sport who have been to the Olympics. The most exciting part of meeting the National team in Princeton is that Katie Bitz, (my coxswain my second year at State), trains with them, so I'll get to see her!