My mom signed me up with my friend from a neighboring town. I had moved to the states and wanted something to do in the summer, but I had no idea what rowing was when I first signed up for it. I like that rowing was a sport I could pick up and still be good at even though I hadn't done it my whole life. I really liked just being out on the water, the scenic Erie Canal, and looked forward to every workout.
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?
Well my concept of what was good at rowing changed over my entire rowing career. As a freshman in high school I thought making the high school varsity was huge! Then when I made that I thought making the junior national team was really important. Then making the college varsity, then the U23 eight, then the national team, then the senior team... At the moment I'll consider myself good at rowing if I win an Olympic gold medal.
3. Best race/practice, worst race/practice?
The best race I ever had was probably the final at the U23 Worlds in '08. I remember thinking that all we had to do was to get to base without screwing up and we would be fine. We simply had a far superior base speed, so no one could hang with us once we settled out of the high strokes. After the race, Alex Osborne and I discussed how it would never again be that easy to win an international race. Those were the good old days!
My worst race was probably the heat at Eastern Sprints in 2008. Being the first Harvard crew to not making the final at Sprints since Harry's first year was really painful. I felt like I had personally let Harry down. I had a lot of doubts after that college season as to whether or not I wanted to keep rowing. It's the downs that make you realize how sweet it is to be on top again, and it doubled my resolve to want to win. I was part of a class at Harvard with a bunch of great guys and we got back to the drawing board, worked hard, and had a really fun and rewarding senior year.
4. Best/Anything you've done in the sport no one knows about?
In 2003 at junior team camp I got beat in a seat race by a guy, and I went up to congratulate him afterwards. He brushed it off and talked a bit of smack. I filled myself with an unreasonable amount of hatred for this guy, and I spent the next year training and erging in by basement thinking about nothing else. Every time I didn't want to do a workout, or didn't want to sprint at the end of a distance piece, I thought about him and I buckled down and pushed myself further. A year later at the 2004 camp I got a chance to seat race him, and crushed him by like 5 lengths or something. That was the sweetest redemption I have ever felt.
5. Any/Most important advice for young rowers?
Go to Harvard!
Hometown: Pittsford, N.Y.
Current Residence: Chula Vista, Calif.
Club Affiliation: USRowing Training Center - Chula Vista
Began Rowing: Pittsford Crew, 2001
Date of Birth: 9/26/87
High School: Pittsford Mendon High School
Undergraduate Education: Harvard University, Applied Mathematics, Economics, 2009
Current Coaches: Tim McLaren, Cam Kiosoglous
Years on National Team: Six – 2004-05, Junior; 2008, Under 23; 2009-12, Senior
International Results: Finished eighth in the eight at the 2011 World Rowing Championships…Finished fourth in the eight at the 2011 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne...Reached the semifinals of the Grand Challenge Cup at the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta...Finished fifth in the four at the 2010 World Rowing Championships...Won gold in the pair with coxswain at the 2009 World Rowing Championships…Finished seventh in the eight at the 2009 Rowing World Cup stop in Lucerne…Won gold in the eight at the 2008 World Rowing Under 23 Championships…Won the Ladies’ Challenge Plate at the 2007 Henley Royal Regatta…Won gold in the eight at the 2005 World Rowing Junior Championships…Placed fifth in the eight at the 2004 World Rowing Junior Championships…Won gold in the eight and gold in the four with coxswain at the 2003 CanAmMex Regatta.
National Results: Finished second in the pair at the 2012 National Selection Regatta #1…Finished sixth in the pair at the 2010 National Selection Regatta #3…Finished second in the pair at the 2010 National Selection Regatta #2…Won gold in the eight at the 2009 USRowing National Championships…Won gold in the varsity eight at the 2007 Eastern Sprints.
Personal: Henrik was named First-Team All-Ivy League in 2007…He enjoys Scrabble, basketball and pool…He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and moved to America in 2000…He speaks English, Danish, Swedish, German and some French…He lists his most memorable sporting achievement as sweeping the Harvard-Yale Regatta in 2008 and 2009…The most influential people in his sporting career have been his parents because they always supported Henrik and helped him through any troubles he had in sports…He lists his personal hero as his mother, who first signed him up for rowing…She is currently in Denmark, working as a Danish military doctor, and has served in Iraq and Afghanistan…Henrik aspires to someday win a medal in the Olympics.