Ben Washburne won the PR3 Men's Single at the Fall Speed Order, and we caught up with him after the racing.
Washburne made his national team debut this past summer, winning a silver medal in the PR3 Mixed Four, and he is training this year with an eye on keeping his seat in the boat for the Paris Paralympic Games next year.
You can watch row2k video here of Washburne racing the time trial.
row2k: Tell us a bit about what it was like getting out there in a single for Speed Order racing.
The racing went really well. The conditions for the time trial were really tough, a big cross-tailwind, so it was just a battle. Don't catch a crab and flip was my biggest worry there. And then for the final, it was way better; nearly ideal conditions actually for my race, because it was the first one of the day. It was really cold, but other than that, it was great so I was able to really get after it.
I felt really good about the race and had a good outcome. I had actually never done a 2k race in a single before, so it was cool to do that for the first time, and put down a time I felt pretty good about.
row2k: Racing a Speed Order in the single was not really part of the selection process for the PR3 Four last year, so what was it like adding this element to your training?
It worked out because I have been practicing in a single on the Charles as my training this fall.
It is not the biggest part of our process in the four and so I didn't completely wrap my entire training around this, but, at the end of the day, rowing is rowing. If you're training for one type of rowing, it all translates over to the other. It was a lot of fun to do this race and be here with everybody around. It was a good regatta with a lot of good energy, I thought, and cool to come down to one spot together and do some racing.
I think this is a good check-in point to see where I'm at, water speed-wise, before getting into the winter. We go down to Florida for a camp in January, but otherwise for the next few months, I'll be on land. So it will be cool to compare my water speed after doing that camp to where I am right now.
Racing the Time Trial on Saturday morning
row2k: A lot of your training through the fall and winter last year was with your college team at Williams, so how do you see things coming together this year as you train more on your own?
Selection this year is going to be pretty different than coming from Williams. Last year, I trained for IRAs, graduated, and then came right back down to Mercer to do our camp [for the four] so this will be different. But I've been figuring it out and getting into a good rhythm, so I think I'm in a good spot now on the whole thing.
It's definitely much less structure [than I had last year], but I think there's also a lot of positives. At Williams, the workload is insane, so you do get a little bit constrained on the type of volume you can do day to day. I'm working now, but I don't have quite that same constraint, so I think there's some real positives to the training [on my own] as well.
row2k: Since this was your first Speed Order, what did you think of the opportunity to break up your training with a chance to race other folks looking to be in the mix for next year?
It was cool, because you do all this training on your own. You're waking up early, thinking, Oh my God, it's dark out and now I'm going to go be on the erg for two hours, headphones in. Then this makes it all worth it, when you're on the race course and things are going well.
It's always good to have those reminders as frequently as you can. Because sometimes you just get into this grind, but this makes it all worth it. You remember, and that can energize you for the next couple of weeks or months.