Q & A with Washington's Allison DePalma

May 5, 2006

The Washington men's and women's rowing teams host the 20th-annual Windermere Cup regatta, Saturday, May 6. Racing begins at 10:20 a.m. on the Montlake Cut. The Huskies are joined by elite competition, including the men's and women's national teams from Russia along with the Central Florida women and Michigan men.

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.

Senior Allison DePalma (San Jose, 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: How has the season been going so far?

Allison DePalma: 'In the last two weeks, things have become a lot better. Since Washington State, I think we've gotten a lot faster. We only lost by two seconds to Cal, so that was a huge jump and really a big confidence booster for us. We were up in that race at one point and I think we were surprised.'

GH: 'How do you prepare for the Windermere Cup?

AD: 'It's so much fun. (Head Coach) Eleanor (McElvaine) is getting us prepared for all of the noise and then hard practices. We have some really hard practices and have been really nailing our race pace and rhythm. Windermere is a good rehearsal for Pac-10s because it will so close and so exciting.'

GH: Do you enjoy facing stiff, unfamiliar competition at the Windermere Cup?

AD: 'I love it. Having different languages being yelled and different styles of rowing and different people you meet, I think it's great. It really adds to the diversity of the sport.'

GH: How do you prepare for an opponent that you know nothing about?

AD: 'The very same way. They're just a different group of girls from a little farther away. For us, being a younger crew, getting distracted by outside things really affects us. So we have to keep our focus on the coxswain and let the coxswain be our eyes. We row so much better when we're not thinking about 100 different things going on outside the boat.'

GH: What do you remember about the first Windermere Cup you raced in?

AD: 'There was lot of looking around because we were tiny little novices who had never done it before. It was so loud and the varsity boat seems so big to us little freshmen. It's such a great experience. My mom brings the cowbell. Every race, the lady with the cowbell, that's my mom. It was hard just trying to think straight.'

GH: Does the excessive noise disrupt your rhythm when you're entering the cut?

AD: 'It is a little tough because you're listening so keenly for the coxswain to tell you the steps. She'll bang on the side of the boat so we can feel it because there's fog horns and the band and people screaming.'

GH: How important is it for you to win Windermere Cup?

AD: 'I don't know how important it is for us to win as it is for us to row really well. I don't think we've peaked yet and we shouldn't peak until Pac-10s. So I think it's important that we have a good race and that we get faster and more confident, whether we win or not.'

GH: Did you know about Windermere Cup before coming to UW?

AD: 'I had never seen it before. My high school club just started coming to it, but not then. I had no idea what Windermere was.'

GH: What are you plans once your time at UW is over?

AD: 'I'm going to keep rowing and try to get back on the national team. I'm probably going to stay here in Seattle over the summer and then next year I'm going to paramedics' school at North Seattle Community College. Besides that I'm just going to keep rowing.'

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