Q & A with Washington's Olivia Morrow

May 6, 2005

The Washington men's and women's rowing teams host the annual Windermere Cup regatta, Saturday, May 7. Racing begins at 10:20 a.m. on the Montlake Cut. The Huskies are joined by elite competition from Cornell University and the national teams from the Czech Republic.

The Windermere Cup is a spectacle unrivaled in collegiate crew. It is among the premier regattas in the sport of rowing with thousands of spectators lining both sides of the course for its entire 2,000-meter length.

Junior Olivia Morrow (San Diego, Calif.) rows in Washington's varsity eight crew. She spent a few minutes with GoHuskies.com, talking about the season and describing her thoughts on the upcoming Windermere Cup.

GoHuskies.com: What are your thoughts on the season so far?

Olivia Morrow: 'We actually had some really good boat speed and some really good confidence through Spring Break. Then we went to the races at Windermere in the Bay Area and we lost our first race. I feel like that was the first time we'd even had a bad boat together. So it threw us off a little bit. We made a lineup change and we've been building up on that and I think fully regaining our confidence. I'm starting to feel like we're getting faster than we even were before. We want to keep building off that.'

GoHuskies.com: What has made this year's crew been so resilient?

OM: 'Sometimes it takes a loss to really get our fire cooking. When you go out and you lose like that on your home course, you feel embarrassed and you feel like you never want to let anything like that happen ever again. It pushes you. You have it in the back of your mind every day at practice, `Don't let this happen again.''

GoHuskies.com: What are your thoughts on the current stretch of schedule during which you have five consecutive weeks with high-level races?

OM: 'Last year I think we had one week off and it worked well, but it's really exciting to just keep going and have a new race to look forward to every single week. It can be an advantage to take a weekend off to train really hard, but we still have to keep in mind the tapering thing a little bit. But I like the way it's formatted this year. We'll have that one week off between Pac-10s and Nationals, so we'll be able to get a little extra work right before the big show.'

GoHuskies.com: What are you thoughts on Windermere Cup week?

OM: 'You hear everyone say so many amazing things about Windermere Cup and it truly is everything that everyone makes it out to be. It is the most special race in the country, if not in the world. I can't imagine anything more amazing than it. With the amount of fans that we have coming out and the support we have is amazing. That combines with the opening of the new boathouse. It's a particularly special year this year.'

GoHuskies.com: What are your impressions of the new boathouse?

OM: 'It's really overwhelming. We are so excited about all the smallest things that we haven't had in almost a year and a half now. Having our locker room so close, being able to walk out in 10 seconds and be where we meet for practice. It really is the biggest luxury after rowing out of our Dawg Pound for so long. We really do appreciate all of the smallest things about the boathouse.'

GoHuskies.com: Does it make up for the inconveniences you've had to endure for the past year?

OM: 'It didn't even seem like an inconvenience because you get so used to rowing out of a shed that it becomes routine. So going from that to this, this seems like a luxury.'

GoHuskies.com: What do you remember from your first Windermere Cup race?

OM: 'I remember from my novice year, it was my very first race, and sitting at the start line and turning around and looking at the course behind me and thinking, `Oh my God.' I've never done that again ever since because it is so overwhelming to look back and see all of the thousands of people over the Montlake Bridge and all the boats the whole way down. It's incredible and if you don't maintain your focus it can really throw you off your game.'

GoHuskies.com: How do you prepare for opponents like the Czech Republic and Cornell, that you have never seen race before?

OM: 'Our race plan and the way that we practice isn't really based on looking at times of other crews and trying to beat those times. We look at what we've done so far and try to build on what we can do. You can't really control what the other team is going to bring. You have to be able to bring your personal best on race day. If that's not enough then you have to congratulate the other team because they're faster. Our main goal is to go out on race day and do what we do in practice every day and come out with the same level of aggressiveness and execute our race plan. For us, that's our best and it's all that we can really offer.'

GoHuskies.com: Will it be difficult to transition from Windermere Cup to the Pac-10 Championships in just a week's time?

OM: 'We're just going to keep going and maintain the momentum. That is one of the advantages of having a race every weekend. You keep the momentum. You have to keep going and keep building. In a sense, we don't take any day off or any week off. It's full throttle every single day. I think it will be fine, it's what we're used to doing.'