Last year at this time, US women's single sculler Gevvie Stone was basking in the glow of a victory – in the Canadian Henley, that is, and a narrow one at that.
A couple months later, in November, Stone was in Seattle doing two weekly 36-hour med school rotations, with a couple hours a week in the boat on Lake Union. Then it was three months during orthopaedic surgery, two months doing emergency medicine, a required neurology rotation, a medicine consult, endocrinology, and more.
Stone finally started training hard again in March with a month-long trip to the California Rowing Club, but when she got home she went back into med school rotations, although at a slightly reduced schedule that did allow her one solid training session each day. It wasn't until May that she was back on what most folks would consider an elite training schedule.
So it isn't an understatement to say that Stone was an unlikely candidate to row the single at Worlds this year. Stone herself thought as much.
"In November when I was doing 90 minutes a week of working out, I didn’t think that I’d be here, so I have to put in perspective " she said after placing third in the B final for 9th overall. "Then the World Cup and Holland Becker went so well, and I got faster over the summer, that I had high expectations for getting back to speed. I wanted to place higher but it’s a tough event, and a tough place to row."
And it's not like the B final isn't a tough race itself; this one included Mirka Knapkova, the defending Olympic champion and last year's bronze medalist.
"Knapkova was the gold medalist in the Olympics and she was fourth in the World Cup, and she hasn’t slowed down that much," Stone said. "I would have liked to place a little bit higher, but I had a good race, so it’s nice to leave having a good race. Now I have a lot of work to do before next year."
Next year, Stone has a much lighter load to carry in her progress toward an MD; she takes her Step 3 board exam at the end of September, and then will be doing some research at a clinic and the OR while focusing on training - just "doing enough to keep my brain active" – and putting in half as much time at work each week as she used to do in between sleeps in Seattle.