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MY ROWING STORY

From Insecure & Overweight to Olympic Champion


Think of any sport, and I played it growing up. I was a driven athlete, a good student, and a happy teenager. But when I went to college, everything changed. Because I did not believe I was a college-caliber athlete, I quit sports altogether. I gained weight, I skipped classes, and my drive diminished. Ultimately, I lost my way and did not know how to get back on track.

After a sleepless night and a fateful turn of events, I made the decision to change. By complete chance, on one sunny Saturday morning during my third year in college at the University of Virginia, I bumped into the head coach of UVA's rowing team--Kevin Sauer. It was during our chance encounter that he suggested I join the team. Although I had never rowed before and I certainly did not know where rowing could take me, I took Kevin up on his offer and I joined the team one month later.

From my first day of rowing practice forward, the sport became my outlet for transformation--one that guided me toward becoming my best. 

Within one year, I became an NCAA Division-I All-American. Two years later, I made my first US National Team. The year after that, my teammates and I broke the world record and won our first World Championship Title...two years later, we made Olympic history. 

Most importantly though, rowing has exposed me to a lifetime of knowledge, experience, and friendship for which I am eternally thankful.

Athletic Highlights:

*Olympic Gold Medalist

*3-time World Champion

*5 World Cup medals over 8 World Cup appearances

*1 FISA International Crew of the Year award

*1 World Record (former)

*US National Rowing Hall of Fame inductee

*2-time NCAA All-American

For the full story, check out my first book, Better Great Than Never.


Please consider sharing the book with your team, friends, and family, and be sure to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

Turn Possibility Into Reality

MY COACHING STORY

Row, Move, & Think Like a Champion.

Elite Rowing & Performance Coaching, Educational & Motivational Speaking

When I retired from my own elite competitive rowing career, a friend said to me that she had learned to, "Never be greedy with knowledge."

Not one day has passed that I have not kept her comment close at heart. 

As I have continued to grow as a coach, author, and speaker in the years since, I have had the incredible honor of coaching hundreds of athletes--including middle- and high- school, college, masters, pre-elite, elite, Olympic and Paralympic, rower and non-rower alike--toward discovering and growing in their own unique possibilities. 


In the process, every group has seen a reduced incidence of injury and a stark improvement in performance and wellbeing. There have been hundreds of personal records, and dozens of state, regional, conference, and national achievements, plus innumerable unmeasurable advances.​

Coaching Highlights:

*During my career so far, I have coached and mentored various programs and individuals to their highest levels of performance--in program or personal history--including two NCAA DII national championships, a program-first conference championship medal, top-level finishes at the state, regional, and national levels; and countless personal records and breakthroughs by nearly every athlete.


Academic Highlights: 

*Masters in Exercise Physiology (specializations in Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition)

*Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association)

*USRowing Level II Coach

*SafeSport Trained by the US Center for SafeSport

*Nationally and State Registered Emergency Medical Technician

 

Trial By Fire

MY SPEAKING STORY

Educational & Motivational Speaking

Public speaking used to scare me. So much so that I once dropped a class to avoid it. But that was a long time ago...

Shortly after I returned home from the Beijing Olympic Games, I was invited to an event celebrating Excellence in the Community. My hometown's local chapter of The United Way was the host. It was the first big event in my hometown following my return, so I was excited about the invitation. I was told that, as an honored guest, I could even invite a few people to attend with me.

In the days leading up to the event, I envisioned sitting down to share a nice meal with my family, my college coach, and his wife. A special thank you for being instrumental in the incredible journey my life has become. 

However, in the final days before the event, when I received a phone call from The United Way's representative, my vision of the evening changed.

"I think we should meet to review what you will speak about during the banquet," the woman told me over the phone. 

Upon hearing her words, my heart sunk. My stomach turned. My face flushed. And...I grew angry. I had not planned to speak. I had never spoken in front of a large group before. And I had certainly never done so on such short notice.

It was too late though. I could not back out...

The next day, when I met with the woman from The United Way, she better explained the theme for that year's banquet. Instantly, the theme clicked in my mind--her words resonated exactly with the story of how rowing had entered my life. I knew what I had to do: stand up in front of 350 strangers and tell my story--

As I stood on stage on the night of the banquet, I stared out at what seemed to be a million strangers. My nerves welled and my heart pounded. So I took a deep breath and focused on what I knew--the story.

Shortly after I finished speaking, a former executive VP of my alma mater approached my dad and told him, "Not only is she an Olympic athlete, but she's an Olympic speaker too."

Two weeks later, I was fortunate enough to speak before Johnson & Johnson's global heads of HR. A few weeks after that, they invited me back to speak before another meeting.

Ever since the night of my headlong, trial by fire dive into public speaking for The United Way, I have not turned back. I have shared stories with groups of all sizes, ages, and purposes, both in-person and virtually.

From meetings for major corporations to live commentary for USRowing to assemblies consisting of hundreds of elementary schoolers, public speaking in the form of story-telling has become (along with empowerment through coaching and education) one of my passions. 

To Inspire Your Group, Get In Touch today!

 

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