Coach Matt Madigan checks in on the way to London. We look forward to more! -TPS
Now the fun begins. Together, the three of us, Margot Shumway, Sarah Trowbridge and myself, have been through the ups and downs of training this year and since 2005 and 2006, when they started at Potomac Boat Club. Countless hours spent on the Potomac and at the National Team Training Centers in Chula Vista, Princeton, and Mercer County (New Jersey), along with racing domestically and internationally, has led us to this very moment and this flight we are on to the 2012 Olympics Games in London. I spent the second half of the weekend with my family and then left from Dulles, while Margot and Trow, packed up their temporary housing belongings in Princeton and headed out of Newark with the rest of the team. Ed Ryan, our club president, mentioned he knows an airline story when he sees one, and I don’t want to disappoint after the last one regarding our return from Switzerland.
Since winning the women’s double event at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, Margot and Trow have aggressively gone after their workouts over the last eight weeks. At the end of May and through early June, we were back at PBC and on the Potomac River to get our distance and aerobic training base back after a peak for the Qualification Race. By training in DC, we were able to re-establish our base not only physically, but also mentally by reconnecting with family, jobs, teammates and our Potomac Boat Club community. At the end of three weeks, we knew it was time to head back onto a course. With the Occoquan course being taken out by a surprise dam release, the best place for us to go was Mercer and Carnegie to continue with other team members. The US boats training in New Jersey included the Men’s and Women’s Eights, Men’s and Women’s Pairs, Women’s Quad, and the Light Men’s Four. We were in good company.
After making arrangements with USRowing, Bryan Volpenhein really helped to facilitate our water time at both Mercer and Carnegie. Not only is Volp a gold and bronze medalist in the M8+, he will have two crews, LM4- and M2-, racing in London. He has been very helpful and his boats have been great training partners for our W2x. With three individuals working together the intensity can turn up quickly. By surrounding ourselves with other boats both on the water and crews on the land, a greater diversity of thought can be shared, which allows intensity to be focused on the workout.
Since our trials event, one of our themes has been taking full advantage of our second opportunity and doing what it takes to ramp up boat speed with our sights on the Olympics Finals. Both Margot and Trow have done a tremendous job in taking ownership and attacking this process. As a result they are fitter, faster, technically skilled, communicate better, and are more prepared than ever. They have been doing triple-days with hard work on back-to-back days twice a week to prepare us for the heats/repecharge format that we will face in 14 days. This final week of training for example had us doing interval 500s with competition followed by a bungee on/bungee off workout to 42 strokes/min. A day of steady state followed with the next set of work being 2 x 2k just below race pace and 2 x 1k full at racepace-plus. As a bald eagle flew about 50 feet above the double during the last 1000 meter piece, racing our duo for 150 meters, the athletes put together a Personal Best for the workout. I knew with this sign that it was definitely time to head over the pond and get started on the next phase of training/tapering.
We continue to be grateful to the Village that supports us. My wife and family sent me off with a American flags and “good lucks” and I certainly couldn’t do this without them. Our families and friends are deserving of much praise and thanks for the sacrifices it has taken. Volp, USRowing staff, Princeton National Rowing Association staff, Princeton University staff, PBC, PRSF, Paul Knight, Erik Meyers, host families in New Jersey, Washington and San Diego, my coaching colleagues and everyone who has done the little things to get us here. Chris Korzoniewski, Reilly Dampeer and Jim O’Conner have all stepped in to support our efforts and lend their expertise when I could not be there. Financially, our thanks goes out to all of the contributors who have supported us along the way.
I also would be remiss to not thank all of the rowers who have helped GeoIQ. Last week after seven years of effort, more from our founder Sean Gorman, the company sold. Thank you Margot, Sarah, Ruth, Bill, Matia, Jenn, others and especially Don Spero and Sean for pulling us across the finish line.
When we land tomorrow morning, our itinerary has us heading to our housing at the University of London, Royal Holloway campus outside of London near Windsor and much closer to the rowing course at Eton-Dorney, which is still about 35 minutes away. After dropping off gear and grabbing a quick bite to eat, we will take a bus to processing in central London, where we will receive our gear, get credentials and receive final instructions from USOC/IOC/LOCOG. We became part of the US Rowing Team by naming at trials, racing in Lucerne and joining the other boats at the National Team Training Center. Tomorrow, we join the other teams as part of the United States Olympic Team.