Sep 2, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Emily Regan, the 2010 Big Ten Rower of the Year and a four-year member of the MSU Rowing Team, has once again moved a step closer to her Olympic dream when she captured a gold medal with the US Women's eight at the World Championships in Chungju, South Korea.
Regan and the eight posted another open-water victory on Sunday morning, pushing a bow ball out ahead of the field by 250 meters in, and then just inching away the length of the 2,000-meter race, winning in 6:02.14, nearly five seconds ahead of second-place Romania. Romania finished in 6:07.04 and Canada was third in 6:09.34. The U.S. is the defending Olympic champion, having won in both Beijing in 2008 and London last summer. No U.S. women's eight crew has lost a world championship since 2006.
"I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to represent the United States - It is so special to be able to race with our country's name on my uniform," said Regan in late August, just before the US contingent headed to South Korea. "None of this would be possible without Matt Weise and the Michigan State rowing community. I was lucky enough to learn about this sport and begin my rowing career on the MSU campus, and I would never have had the opportunity to race at the World Championships without all of the incredible support I have received from MSU."
Regan captured her fourth gold medal in international competition since her graduation from Michigan State in 2010. In July, she was in the US women's eight which rowed to an open-water victory at the US World Cup Races in Lucerne, Switzerland. She helped make history as the eight posted a new world best time (5:54.16). She also won a gold medal at the Under-23 Rowing World Championships in Belarus in 2010, just months after her graduation from Michigan State. In 2011, she won a gold medal in the four at the World Rowing Championship.
Matt Weise, MSU's head rowing coach and a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, considers Regan not only an impressive ambassador of the Spartan program, but also a shining example of one of the things the MSU rowing program hopes to accomplish.
To coin one of Weise's phrases, there are many athletes who are "rowers, but they just don't know it." Count Regan among that group - she came to Michigan State in the fall of 2006, and despite being a standout athlete in high school (she ran cross country, and played basketball and lacrosse at her Buffalo, NY high school), she was not recruited to play any of those sports at Michigan State. She learned about MSU's walk-on tryouts during a fall event on campus, and explored the option of this new sport to which she had never been exposed.
Through Weise's tutelage, Regan was taught to row and began to excel. She earned a spot in MSU's varsity eight as a sophomore, and never looked back - she helped MSU to three straight gold medals at the Big Ten Championships in the varsity eight, culminating in All-America honors and Big Ten Rower of the Year accolades as a senior. From MSU, she began training immediately with US Rowing - and the sport has brought her to new heights every year.
"I compare rowing to running - nearly every person in the world can run, but not everyone can run fast," explained Weise. Rowing is similar - anyone can get on a rowing machine at the gym or into a boat with an oar. However, not everyone can move a boat and make it go fast. Emily has that ability.
"We recruit rowers to MSU every year, but we also recruit on-campus once the school year starts, because there are many people who just haven't had an exposure to the sport," continued Weise. "Our program has attained success not only in our recruiting and bringing students to MSU, but also in finding those "rowers who don't know it" within our campus community."
Regan's sights are set on competing for a spot on the US Team which will compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The 2013 World Championships is the end of the first cycle of preparations for Olympic competition. Regan is in residence with US Rowing in Princeton, NJ.
"This is another exciting accomplishment for Emily, but also a step towards her larger goal of making the 2016 Olympic team," added Weise. "As a program, watching her enjoy the successes is an amazing, rewarding experience for all of us. She is a wonderful representative of our program on the world stage."