Living in New York city as an undergraduate at Columbia University means learning to think fast and adapting to stressful situations. Men's lightweight crew coach Nich Lee Parker teaches that mindset to his athletes and has them apply it to the things that can interfere with performance at a regatta.
The theory was put to the test this week at the 2018 Henley Royal Regatta.
Parker, after his team won the IRA lightweight title, made the call to split his squad into two crews and enter them in the fours events at the 2018 Henley Royal Regatta - the straight four Visitors Challenge Cup and the coxed four Prince Albert Challenge Cup.
And then they all headed off to a training camp in Spain.
Columbia was planning on having a full three weeks of training without distractions in Spain, and then flying to Henley in hopes of extending the Upper Manhattan based university's championship season to the Sunday Prize Giving here at Henley-On-Thames.
But, then then came those New York like moments, one right after the other.
The first was a stress fracture to senior Ban Landis that took him out of the coxed four boat for the remainder of the trip, followed by a stomach virus that eliminated another of the Prince Albert crew.
To complicate matters more, both were port side rowers. So, Columbia began shuffling guys around to patch the holes. "We flipped the three man to port, and two guys moved up to this boat, and we changed the whole boat around," Parker said.
"The thing about being an oarsman, even an athlete at Columbia, is you learn how to handle anything that comes your way and when you live in New York, it happens day after day, so something like this is frustrating, but it's part of what we learn to adjust to.
"So, we tell the guys, when you get in a place like this do the things that you know have worked for you in the past. And that usually helps us calm down.
Luckily, Columbia had enough athletes on the trip that the moves enabled them to race both crews, and there was supposed to be enough time at Henley to practice the new lineups - supposed to be.
One of the crew had his passport stolen somewhere on the trip and got stuck in an airport in Germany on the way over to the UK from Spain. So, living by his own mantra, Parker filled in for the rows until the crew could make it to the river intact.
Which they did with a day to go before the racing started. Columbia's straight four was eliminated on Wednesday in the heat, while the coxed four reached the Saturday semifinal.
Columbia's hopes for a final appearance ended there at the hands of a Cambridge Boat Club crew. But that did not diminish the feeling among the team that they had accomplished something meaningful.
"The race was honestly everything we had hoped for," said coxswain Bella Zionts. "It's incredible to make it this far into the event for any crew, and we're happy with the piece we just put out."
Like Parker, Zionts said her crew does not rattle easily because of the life they live in New York.
"We had a few things happen, she said. "Our two-seat got stuck in Germany for a couple of days and we were glad he showed up because coach had to row with us until he did, which was interesting.
"But we really are used to this," she said. "We have to drive across the George Washington Bridge every day to get to practice, which can take up to 90 minutes somedays in traffic, and we have only 20 minutes of practice time.
"So, we are definitely used to being bounced around, and we kind of just had to roll with the punches here, and we're happy that we were able to make it this far."
So was Parker.
"We thought we would have this lineup that we've been developing for three weeks, and then we didn't, so what these guys have done was awesome, really, really awesome. And if you make it to Saturday as lightweight, I think that is a huge achievement."