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row2k Starting Five: Australia's Tess Gerrand
Monday, July 16, 2012
Ed Hewitt, row2k.com
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Tess Gerrand of the AUS W8+

Gerrand celebrating NCAA V8 championship

1. What inspired you to go to your first rowing practice; was there anything memorable about it?
Mum used to row and would take me to regattas and rowing club functions when I was younger, so I always spent a lot of time around the sport. I actually started out coxing my Club's women's masters 4+, and they would pay me $10 a session which was exciting! But I grew out of the coxswain seat pretty quick!

My mum remembers the first time my coach put me out in a single, I was about 13 and he tied a rope to the stern so I could paddle away and he could pull me back in. She says she was completely mortified and embarrassed of my girly screams as the boat rocked around! I try my hardest not to scream like that anymore.

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?
I fell in love with the sport when I started winning races. I am annoyingly competitive/stubborn and this was the first avenue where I felt I could really apply myself and succeed.

I started thinking I could make a junior national team when I was winning underage and junior sculling National Championships in Australia, but I did not post a quick enough time at trials to be selected for the Junior World Championships in the single. I remember leaving that selection regatta and thinking, next time I come to selections I will be so fit, so strong and so determined that even if I have a bad race, I will make the team. This year was my first selections since.

3. Best race/practice, worst race/practice?
I think my best race would have to be in the Australian W8+ at the qualification regatta in Lucerne this year. It was my first national team after returning from college in the States so I was very proud to be representing my country in the green and gold. It was also pretty special because as soon as we crossed the finish line we knew we were going to the Olympics!

My worst practice would be one mornings in Sydney soon after I got back from the US. Compare training on a college team to waking at 4:30am to go out in your single every morning for 16-20km in the pitch black, with plenty of ferry washes and very little coaching! Let's just say I am happy to be back in an 8+!

4. Best/Anything you've done in the sport no one knows about?
In 2008 I won CRASH B's after a tight race with a Czech rower. I was 1m behind the whole race till the 1400m mark when I decided it was now or never, forced a smile on my face and sprinted for the line. Smiling is still a technique I use to try and get through tough erg workouts, although I often just look like a crazed lunatic.

Also, at NCAA'S freshman year I had my first burger topped with bacon and avocado the night before our semi-final, which we went on to win. So I asked Will Porter to take us back the next night and BAM...first of three NCAA Championships! It is still a favorite but I doubt I will be going near one until after our final in London.

5. Any/Most important advice for young rowers?
It is human nature to try and remain in our comfort zones, so keep resetting your limits and expectations of yourself. When you start a race, a training session or a season, think long and hard about how you can train smarter, harder and more efficiently. This is the only way you will be able to get the most out of yourself and continue to improve.

Birthplace: Sandringham, Victoria, AUS
Club Affiliation: Sydney Rowing Club
Date of Birth: 2/19/88
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 175
High School: Taree High School & Pymble Ladies College, AUS
Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Majoring in Economics - Yale University , 2010
Current Coaches: Nick Garrett, Adam Vine-Hall
Years on National Team: One, 2012 Senior


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