When I looked at the options on the spring sports sign up board at Salisbury School, I realized I simply had no future in lacrosse or baseball, and the only thing I had to lose in trying crew were a few pounds of fat. I remember my first practice as a really cold and windy day in early spring. The ice on the lake had just melted. The coaches put me in the bow of the 3rd V8 and I caught about a half a dozen crabs. They switched me out with another guy (who still reminds me of this "seat race" frequently) and the following day I was cut and exiled to the novice program. I was off to a rough start and wondered if JV baseball would have been the wiser option. Needless to say, I'm glad a stuck it out for a bit longer.
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?
One thing I do remember as one of my fondest memories was winning my first medal. I was at the Festival Regatta in Lowell, Massachusetts racing in a junior eight for BRC in 2000. It was kind of a bizarre day because I remember waking up very early that morning to my mother in tears because our pet cockatiel died. Nevertheless, we quickly pulled ourselves together and my mom rushed me up to Lowell. Long story short, after all the drama, I won the race. At the finish line, I remember turning to my teammate and exclaiming "we won!" and gasping for air he said "yeah dude." I then asked, "wait, do we get a medal for this?" confused and still out of breath he said "yeah dude, we won." I couldn't believe it, I finally won something! I felt like an Olympic champion! To this day, that modest hatchet-shaped medal hangs from a piece of twine in my room and will forever be my favorite one... But I wanted more.
3. Best race/practice, worst race/practice?
The best race I have ever had was winning IRA's for Cal in 2006. We were the underdogs in that race and knew it, but we also knew exactly how to get our best result. Had there been ten races, we probably would have lost nine, but we had our race plan down to a tee, we executed it, and it happened to win the whole thing. I think all nine of us crossed the finish line thinking; "Wow! The race plan actually worked!"
The worst practice ever was when I was rowing, alone in a single scull on the Oakland estuary and while practicing a race pace 20, I ran into a dock pillar, destroyed my boat and cut my right leg open. I then had to paddle 3k back to the dock arms-only with a laceration bleeding all over my boat. I then rushed to the ER. That was a real bummer of a workout.
4. Best/Anything you've done in the sport no one knows about?
When I was at a sailing clinic as a kid I saw one day that the wind was flat, so I ditched the class, stole a yacht club dinghy, and rowed away.
5. Any/Most important advice for young rowers?
Have a good sense of humor, never be afraid to fail, learn from your mistakes, always check your ego at the door, be optimistic and cohesive with your team, and if you want to truly learn to row; put your miles in the single scull!
Hometown: Manchester-By-The-Sea, Mass.
Current Residence: San Diego, Calif.
Club Affiliation: Union Boat Club
Began Rowing: Salisbury School, 1999
Date of Birth: 2/17/83
High School: Salisbury School, 2003
Undergraduate Education: University of California at Berkeley, American Studies, 2007
Current Coaches: Cam Kiosoglous, Tim McLaren
Years on National Team: Four – 2008-10, 2012, Senior
International Results: Finished eighth in the quadruple sculls at the 2010 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne…Finished second in the Queen Mother Challenge Cup at the 2010 Royal Henley Regatta…Finished seventh in the quadruple sculls at the 2010 Rowing World Cup stop in Munich…Finished 12th in the quadruple sculls at the 2009 World Rowing Championships…Finished fourth in the quadruple sculls at the 2009 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne…Finished 12th in the double sculls at the 2008 Olympic Games...Won the Double Sculls Challenge Cup at the 2008 Henley Royal Regatta.
National Results: Finished second in the double sculls at the 2010 National Selection Regatta #3…Won gold in the quadruple sculls at the 2009 USRowing National Championships…Finished second in the double sculls at the 2009 National Selection Regatta #2…Won the double sculls at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Rowing...Won the varsity eight at the 2006 IRA Championships...Won the varsity eight at the 2006 Pacific-10 Championships.
Personal: Elliot enjoys outdoor sports including telemark skiing, golf, surfing, and fly-fishing...After the 2012 Olympic Games, Elliot is considering coaching, teaching and tutoring.