1. What inspired you to go to your first rowing practice; was there anything memorable about it?
There were signs up in my middle school gym. I went to a big inner-city school and Green Lake Crew had come over to recruit kids that were outside of the norm for rowers. I also had heard that rowers were really big and jacked and I thought I could get huge and show up for basketball tryouts ready to push people around. But when I showed up for novice practice the other girls that showed up were tiny and not that athletic looking. I probably fit in more than I thought at the time.
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 didn't like rowing that much in the beginning. Our novice coaches were two varsity rowers that would laugh at us from the launch and my butt hurt. Also, I was embarrassed to tell my friends from school that I was rowing because it seemed like something that preppy white kids would do. The girls on my basketball team gave me a hard time about it. But I liked that rowing was hard and that I could beat people. It wasn't rowing that hooked me but the competition. It seemed clear: if you work hard you'll beat people. I liked the challenge and the simplicity.
3. Best race/practice, worst race/practice?
My worst race was probably my last NCAA's senior year. We did a bad job dealing with the conditions and it was just sad. I didn't want it all to end like that. One of my favorite races was winning the Head of the Charles my sophomore year in college. We went out so hard and then just held on to it. We could see Canada behind us and we were moving away from them. I just remember thinking on the bus ride home that we were officially the best crew ever. That turned out not to be true but it was still a pretty sweet race.
4. Best/Anything you've done in the sport no one knows about?
I am a master of square blades.
5. Any/Most important advice for young rowers?
Don't wait for anyone to tell you you're doing a good job. You have to learn how to figure it out for yourself. If you wait for that kind of approval you'll never get a chance to love what you're doing.
LIA PERNELL BIO: Hometown:
Seattle, Wash Current Residence:
Seattle, Wash Club Affiliation:
George Pocock Rowing Center Began Rowing:
Green Lake Crew, 1995 Date of Birth:
150 High School:
Garfield High School Undergraduate Education:
Princeton University Current Coaches:
Tom Terhaar Personal:
Lia is a five-time senior national team member and first-time Olympian...Lia was a three-time All-American and Princeton's captain in 2003...She is a vegetarian...Lia enjoys reading, running, cycling and all competitive events...Her favorite place to compete is Italy...Lia's favorite song is Won't Back Down by Tom Petty and her favorite band is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band...Lia said if she weren't rowing she would be playing harmonica with the Rolling Stones...Her favorite sport other than rowing is basketball...Lia said she caught the Olympic bug in 1984 when the Olympics were in Los Angeles and her family was living there...She said, "I was three but it was all I could think about from there on out."