Rowing Report with Washington's Cara Troelstra

April 30, 2007

The Washington men's and women's rowing teams host the 21st-annual Windermere Cup regatta, Saturday, May 5. Racing begins at 10:20 a.m. on the Montlake Cut. The Huskies are joined in the featured races by crews from Purdue and the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

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 Cara Troelstra (Halifax, Nova Scotia) rows in Washington's varsity eight crew. She spent a few minutes with, talking about the season and describing her thoughts on the upcoming Windermere Cup. Would you comment on the season so far?

Cara Troelstra: 'The season's been good. I think that we've have had a good focus throughout the year. We are keeping the lineups kind of the same, so we are getting to know the boat in general and getting to know each of the players that are in it so we can work on our strengths together.'

GoHuskies: 'How difficult is that to put together a new crew or have several rowers together in the boat for the first time?

CT: 'Yeah, there are a lot of personalities that go into it too, so you are trying to kind of mix the personalities together and work with them in a way that everyone is kind of moving together. If you have too many headstrong people, it doesn't go well. You want to try and get a boat that can move well together and have people that understand that.'

GoHuskies: How long does it usually take for a new group of rowers to mesh together?

CT: 'It depends on the crew, and here with university rowing in general you kind of have to be on the ball and ready to go with the crew. You learn to put everything together pretty quickly. There is an advantage to keeping a boat together for a longer time.'

GoHuskies: 'Would you briefly recap your rowing career at Washington?

CT: 'I started off in the freshman boat and then we beat Cal. After that point they split us up. I stayed in the novice boat for Pac -10's and then went in to the jayvee boat at nationals. Since then, I've just been kind of rowing in and out of the jayvee boat. This is my first year making it all the way to varsity the whole season. Last year I did it for half a year.'

Gohuskies: Tell us about the injury you suffered early in your career?

CT: 'I had hip surgery my sophomore year. That was hard to watch all of your teammates rowing while you were on the sidelines. I wanted to get going and try and prove myself after that, but it is hard after an injury.'

Gohuskies: Did you have any hip problems before that?

CT: 'I just had minor pain but nothing too serious. This is actually my first year making it all the way through because I have had various injuries before this. So I am healthy and ready to go now. My hip problem just kept getting progressively worse and the UW people here finally took an MRI and saw that there was some cartilage torn in my hip, and then they knew that they had to do something. That was March of my sophomore year, so not last year but the year before.'

Gohuskies: What was the rehabilitation process like after your hip surgery?

CT: 'Well this was my third surgery, so I kind of knew the process. It just takes a lot because you feel mentally like you should be able to get right back into it. But, you have to know how to read your body, so it is very difficult.'

GoHuskies: How long was the rehab process for that?

CT: 'It was basically my whole sophomore year working on it throughout the summer just trying to bring it back and slowly easing into it my junior year.'

GoHuskies: Some people may mistakenly believe that rowing is all about using your arms. How much do the hips come into play while rowing?

CT: 'I mean your legs, if you don't have your legs you're not in the game. So anything that is connected to that is important. It is a complete, whole-body sport and if one thing is injured than it makes it difficult.'

GoHuskies: Does your hip still bother you?

CT: 'No, not at all anymore.'

GoHuskies: At what point this season did you move into the varsity eight crew?

CT: 'I have been in the varsity boat all this year. We started off in pairs and I have been trying to win all of the pair races that I can, and I have been really going aggressively at it and trying to stay at the top the whole time. Basically they start off by whoever wins the pairs, so I started off at the Head of the Charles and then from that point on I kind of just stayed in the varsity boat.'

GoHuskies: What are your thoughts on the Windermere Cup this weekend?

CT: 'I am excited. I love Windermere. Every time is a blast, just having that crowd and watching the boats. I'm from a small, small rowing club, so to see how big this event is over here is really amazing.'

GoHuskies: Why is the Windermere Cup regatta so unique?

CT: 'It is bigger, in terms of rowing, than anything you can ever imagine just because there is a mass of people. Usually in rowing you have your parents and some friends cheering you on. But, this is just a huge mass of people that are all excited to watch you race. It makes it that much more of an event.'

GoHuskies: Do you recall your first Windermere cup race?

CT: 'Yes. It was a big difference from what I was used to. Very big. I used to row in the Atlantic, far, far away, because I am from the East Coast. There were very small events. So that was just amazing to see how huge this event was. It pumps you up more to have all those people cheering from both sides of the course. You are ready to get and it's just an extra adrenaline rush that you have that helps you really go for it.'

GoHuskies: Do you know anything about this weekend's opposing crews?

CT: 'Basically, we're just concentrating on our own boat. I am not worrying about those other crews, I just want to focus in on our boat. I know that we can do well so I just want to keep a good focus together.'

GoHuskies: How did you end up at the University of Washington?

CT: 'Well I am from the East Coast and you can only train outdoors for six months of the year, so I knew I wanted to go somewhere on the West Coast. I was just looking around and searching and Washington came up. I visited and it was just a beautiful place and the program looked very strong and everything just seemed to fit.'

GoHuskies: Now that you are part of the program, what do you have to say about Washington rowing?

CT: 'I think it takes a lot of heart to row here, and everything is set up for you to do well. So you just have to concentrate on your rowing and that's about it. There are no struggles for anything else. I know a lot of other crews have to go hours to get to their boathouse and ours is right here on campus. Here it is nice to just focus on the rowing.'

GoHuskies: What is your major?

CT: 'English.'

GoHuskies: What do you plan to do after college?

CT: 'My parents live in Europe, so I'm planning on moving back there. I will hopefully be attending cooking school in Switzerland. And then, depending healthwise I might try to see how national team things go.'

Gohuskies: Do you do a lot of cooking now?

CT: Yes actually. We had a boat dinner last week and I am the designated chef.'

GoHuskies: Thank you so much for your time.

CT: 'You're welcome. Good-bye.'

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