This week's row2k Interview is with Duke senior rower Abby Artmann, who left the Blue Devil swim team after her sophomore year and is now making an impact on their rowing team.
row2k - You came to rowing from a swimming background, tell us about that.
Abby Artmann - I started swimming when I was about eight years old, and I did that all the way through high school. It was definitely my introduction into the athletic world and my first love. I swam on the Duke team my first two years in college, but I had kind of hit a plateau and wasn't improving as much as I wanted to, and felt a little burnt out on the sport. Then I switched to rowing.
row2k - How did you find your way onto Duke’s rowing team?
Abby Artmann - I still loved training and competing, and didn't want to give up being an athlete. I was cross training on campus, and coach Cooke-Carcagno saw me and recruited me to try and walk on to the team. I thought it was a unique opportunity and was pretty excited to get a new lease on my athletic career. After all the paperwork went through to switch sports, I had my first practice with the team in August of 2016, and I really caught the rowing fever. It has allowed me to continue training and competing at a high level, and it's been an incredible experience.
row2k - What are some of the sport’s similarities and differences compared to swimming?
Abby Artmann - Both sports are composed of athletes that know that grind of waking up early, long workouts, and lots of aerobic endurance. They have the ability to consistently put in the miles, day in, day out. My aerobic background in swimming has really served me well and prepared me for those long practices where you're rowing back and forth across the lake all morning.
row2k - What do you like most about the sport of rowing?
Abby Artmann - I love the team aspect of rowing. In swimming you have teammates, but with rowing you're all in a boat together, where it's so much of a unified mindset of being perfectly in time with each other both physically and mentally. It led to more intimate bonds with my teammates, which has been very enriching.
row2k - What has been your most memorable race so far and why?
Abby Artmann - My most memorable race wasn't actually in a competition. We had an inter-squad race in the fall of my first year that was a class race, and all the juniors at the time were in a boat together. It immediately stands out in my memory as the first time everything came together on the water, and I got my first glimpse in to to what rowing was really about when you all have one mindset. It was such a great practice and I always look back on it with fond memories.
row2k - How has this season gone, and what are your goals for the spring?
Abby Artmann - The year so far has been really good. I was dealing with a little bit of a back injury during the fall, but it's feeling a lot better now. I'm really excited to get back in to the spring and start cranking again on the erg and on the water. I had some great erg scores last year and I'd like to improve on them, as well as improving my boat feel and technical boat moving skills.
row2k - What are you studying at Duke and do you have any plans yet for after college?
Abby Artmann - I am majoring in psychology and I'm minoring in education. After I graduate, I'm planning on going into a masters program where I'll be getting my Masters of Arts and Education while also working as a teacher for middle school students.
Images courtesy of Duke Athletics