Steph Grauer graduated from Stanford in 2019 and is currently set to race in the Canadian W4- at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
1. What inspired you to go to your first rowing practice; was there anything memorable about it?
I played just about every sport growing up and always loved being on a team and being competitive. By around grade 10, though, I had stopped most sports but started to really miss it. My friend Julia Lindsay had been trying to convince me to row for two years (mostly just because I was tall) so I figured that was the time to give it a try! I was also inspired by my high school alumna, Lauren Wilkinson, who came to talk to us at the team tryouts, just a couple of years after she won a silver medal at the London Olympics in the W8+.
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?
Racing for Stanford in 2019
I fell in love with the sport very early on. I spent many mornings in high school getting up at 4am to row in a single, on my own with my coach at the time, Ben Rutledge, in the pitch black and cold Canadian winter. I knew that if I was doing that, and still loving it and wanting more and more, there must be something pretty special going on.
3. Best race/practice, worst race/practice?
One of my favorite races was the final of the W8+ at Worlds in 2018. It was my first time at Seniors, and our boat had a tough start to the regatta. What was so special about it was that we were able to make positive changes throughout the regatta, have a lot of trust in each other, and execute a very gutsy race to end up with a silver medal. That race was one of very few times that I didn’t look out of the boat once; I was totally in the zone and just trusted every word my coxswain said.
My worst practice was probably my first ever 6k test back in high school. I had no idea what to expect and went out way too hard. I spent the last 15+ minutes bouncing around between 1:52 and 2:16 splits and questioning every life choice that led me to that moment. But somehow I stuck around!
4. Best/Anything you've done in the sport no one knows about?
After racing at the 2019 Olympic Qualifiers with a broken rib, the fracture never healed so I had to have a titanium plate put on it.
5. Any/Most important advice for young rowers?
Focus on the process over the prize. If you put your best effort forward each day, execute your training, and take care of the small details, the big things will fall into place. The outcome is never promised, so enjoying the journey and having fun along the way is essential!
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Club Affiliation: Burnaby Lake Rowing Club
Date of Birth: March 23, 1997
High School: Crofton House
Education: Stanford University, 2019
National Teams: Six - Junior, 2015; Under 23, 2017-18; Senior, 2018-19; Olympic, 2020
Gold with U23 W8+