1. What inspired you to go to your first rowing practice; was there anything memorable about it?
I started rowing with a learn-to-row camp run by the local program in my hometown in the summer after sixth grade. My parents had both rowed in college and encouraged me to give it a try. I don't remember my first water session per se, but I do recall a moment early on in these camps when a coxswain had to tell me to tone it down because I was going too hard.
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 remember my first glimpse of actual cohesive rowing when I was in a four at one of these camps. The feeling was addicting and I recall gushing to my mom about it the whole car ride back to our house. My coaches convinced me of my potential and my early erg numbers served as confirmation. A big step for me was making the USRowing development team in 2008 - that camp really set everything since into motion.
Hack races with the USA M8+ at the Final Olympic Qualifier in Lucerne, May 2016
3. Best race/practice, worst race/practice?
I don't know about my "best"? race, but one of my most memorable was dueling Washington in 2012 in our famed Stanford battleship rig. They were undefeated that year and I think we may have been the only squad to lead them through the 500. We ended up completely imploding, but racing in the battleship made it memorable. After that implosion - which happened around 600 meters in - were 1400 meters I might count as the most painful of my career.
I think my least favorite practice happened last year during a training trip to Hanover, NH. We spent the week rowing the most volume of our entire season, and capped off the trip with 3x20' seat racing, at 28spm, on the 4th of July. 60 minutes of tight seat racing is not a fond memory.
4. Any/Most important advice for young rowers?
Advancing in our sport can seem daunting if you set unachievable goals. Progress at your own speed, and do your best to excel at whatever level you're at before you set your sights on the next step.
DATE OF BIRTH: 5/17/92
BEGAN ROWING: 2005, Blood Street Sculls
HOMETOWN: Old Lyme, Conn.
BIRTHPLACE: Springfield, Mass.
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Old Lyme, Conn.
HIGH SCHOOL: Lyme-Old Lyme High School
UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION: Stanford University, Political Science, 2014
CURRENT COACH: Luke McGee
CLUB AFFILIATIONS: USRowing Training Center–Princeton
National Teams: SENIOR: 2013-2016, UNDER 23: 2011-2012, JUNIOR: 2009-2010
International Results: Won bronze in the eight at the 2016 World Rowing Cup II...Won the eight at the 2016 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta...Finished seventh in the eight at the 2015 World Rowing Championships…Won bronze in the eight at the 2015 World Rowing Cup 2…Finished fourth in the eight at the 2014 World Rowing Championships...Won bronze in the eight at the 2013 World Rowing Championships...Won gold in the eight at the 2013 World Rowing Cup 3...Finished fourth in the pair at the 2012 World Rowing Under 23 Championships...Won gold in the eight at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships...Won gold in the eight at the 2010 World Rowing Junior Championships…Finished fourth in the eight at the 2009 World Rowing Junior Championships…Won the junior eight and junior four with coxswain at the 2008 CanAmMex Regatta.
National Results: Finished third in the pair at the 2016 National Selection Regatta I...Won gold in the eight at the 2013 USRowing National Championships…Finished 14th in the varsity eight at the 2012 IRA Championships…Finished ninth in the freshman eight at the 2011 IRA Championships…Won the junior four with coxswain and finished second in both the junior eight and intermediate eight at the 2008 USRowing Club National Championships…Finished fifth in the senior double sculls at the 2008 Stotesbury Cup Regatta.
Personal: Austin enjoys skiing, gastronomy and traveling…Austin’s parents rowed in college…He lists Scott Belford, his development camp coach in 2008, as the most influential person in his sporting career for introducing him to the competitive rowing world … He was the Pac-12 Rower of the Year 2013 and 2014 , first-team All-Pac-12 and first-team All-Academic.