1. What inspired you to go to your first rowing practice; was there anything memorable about it?
I stared rowing at the University of Michigan because it just looked like a fun and easy way to stay in shape and maybe get a bit of competition (it always looks easy, doesn't it?). In my first rowing practice, a just-graduated alumnus was in charge of steering and coaching a barge full of us complete novices. I was in one of the later practice sessions of the day, so this guy had already had an afternoon full of watching terrible rowing and trying to help us novices figure it out. Despite spending all day watching all sorts of awful rowing, it was my first strokes that made him burst out laughing from how terrible they were.
2. Was there a practice, race or other event when you fell in love with the sport, or when you knew you might not be too bad at rowing? When you thought you could make the national team?
In my sophomore year in college we had one spring break practice where the top 12 or so guys were divided into coxed fours. We then did a 5x1k workout at relatively high rates. I was in a boat with the top three rowers on the team and was definitely feeling the pressure. One of the seniors, Erik Hult, turns to me as we're shoving off the dock and says, "If we lose any of these pieces, someone's going to get switched out, and it won't be any of us three". I was terrified. I pulled absolutely as hard as I could for the first two pieces and was exhausted by the third. We won all of the 1ks by convincing margins that day and in part thanks to Erik's "encouragement" I realized that I might be decent at this sport.
3. Best race/practice, worst race/practice?
My best race was beating Wisconsin in Redwood Shores back in 2005. I have a bunch of Badger friends who might not like this story, but too bad for them - they've got three other dual race victories over me and three of my shirts to comfort them. That race at Redwood Shores was our first major regatta of the season, and we had no idea if we were fast or not. Within the first ten strokes we had an answer, sitting down open water already. I remember thinking that I really wanted to just minimize the embarrassment and try to hold on as close as we could. Still, over the length of the entire course we steadily walked back. Coming through the 3rd 500 we were down only a few seats and felt like we were running downhill. We finally put our bowball just in front on the very last stroke of the race. It was the first and only time Michigan has beaten a Wisconsin varsity and it was a huge moment for us.
The worst regatta was probably ECAC championships in 2007, which were supposed to be held at Whitney Point. The entire weekend was made challenging by really strong winds. After somehow going through the heats and semis in the last regatta of our careers before the IRA, an increasingly nasty wind forced the regatta's cancellation. As seniors, we were really upset to have lost the chance to race, especially against Trinity and Virginia, which was something we had focused on the entire year. But, with a big thank you to Dan Roock at Cornell, the Michigan, Trinity, and Virginia coaches managed to set up an alternative three-way race. We had to pack up the trailer and travel to Cornell's home course in Ithaca for what turned out to be a wildly fun race where we managed to pull out a six-point-one second victory.
4. Best/Anything you've done in the sport no one knows about?
When I was a freshman, I wasn't good enough to make the first Frosh boat at Michigan. I'm strangely proud of it.
5. Any/Most important advice for young rowers?
TOM PESZEK BIO: Hometown
: Farmington Hills, Mich. Current Residence
: Oklahoma City, Okla. High School
: Farmington High School Began Rowing
: University of Michigan, 2003 Club Affiliation
: USRowing Training Center - Oklahoma City Date of Birth
: 1/4/85 Height
: 6’3” Weight
: 200 Undergraduate Education
: University of Michigan, 2006 Graduate Education
: University of Michigan, MIS, 2008 Training Location
: Oklahoma City, Okla. Current Coach
: Tim McLaren, Bryan Volpenhein Years on National Team
: Four – 2007, Under 23; 2010-12, Senior International Results
: Finished ninth in the pair at the 2011 World Rowing Championships...Finished 16th in the pair at the 2011 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne...Reached the quarterfinals of the Silver Goblets and Nickalls' Challenge Cup at the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta...Finished sixth in the eight at the 2010 World Rowing Championships...Finished fourth in the eight at the 2007 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. National Results
: Won the pair at the 2012 Olympic Trials - Rowing...Won in the pair at the 2011 Senior World Championship Trials...Finished second in the pair at the 2011 National Selection Regatta #2...Finished second in the pair at the 2011 National Selection Regatta #1...Finished third in the pair at the 2010 National Selection Regatta #3..Finished seventh in the pair at the 2010 National Selection Regattas #1 and #2. Personal
: Tom enjoys skeet-shooting... His most memorable sporting achievement is winning the Canadian Henley Dash for Cash in back-to-back years... He choose rowing as a way to be competitive and stay in shape... He lists all of the people who ever have, or currently do, row for Michigan Crew, as well as the Michigan coaching staff, as the most influential people in his sporting career... He says they are the epitome of collegiate athletics and truly embody the spirit of competition... Tom’s personal heroes are his brother, Greg, Erik Hult and Patrick Kington... He thanks his parents, Donna and Larry, for their unwavering support.