See You In Sarasota: Meet the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls

Introducing the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls crew of Laura Goodkind and Isaac French. Laura and Isaac will be racing in Florida for the 2017 World Rowing Championships this month.

Laura and Isaac row as PR2 athletes (formerly known as “trunk and arms”). This sportclass is for rowers who have trunk and arm movement, who are unable to use their legs to propel the sliding seat.

Examples of PR2 impairments include (but are not limited to):

  • Limb loss equivalent to a double around the knee amputation
  • Significant muscle strength loss in both legs equivalent to complete spinal cord injury at L3 level or incomplete lesion at L1
  • Ataxia, athetosis or hypertonia from CP, brain injury or stroke which affects both legs or one side of the body
  • Significant permanently decreasedrange of motion in one or both knees

Fast Facts:

  • Laura represented the U.S. at the 2016 Paralympic Games in the trunk and arms mixed double sculls
  • At the age of seventeen, Isaac is the youngest athlete on the U.S. roster this year competing in Sarasota-Bradenton

Follow Laura and Isaac’s journey to Sarasota-Bradenton for the 2017 World Rowing Championships via Instagram: @isaac.french

Q: Who inspires you?

Laura: All of the coaches and athletes I’ve met being involved in adaptive sports.

Isaac: My family inspires me the most because they are always supporting me in all of my training and races.

Q: What do you wish you would’ve known as a novice rower?

Laura: I wish I knew that getting in the boat is only one aspect of the sport. Learning to pace yourself in order to work the body to maximum capacity involves ultimate dedication and hours of practice. As it allows for consistent conditions over time, the erg ,though it’s an often-despised piece of equipment, is integral to learning these processes.

Isaac: I wish I had known that being a good rower takes time and a lot of work and sweat.

Q: What does it mean you to be able to represent the U.S. at Worlds?

Laura: Representing the US at Worlds is an incredible opportunity. I’m looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd and being amongst international athletes.  

Isaac: I am very proud to be representing the U.S. and showing that I am part of something bigger and greater than myself.

Q: As an athlete, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who gave it to you?

Laura: What resonates strongly with me is this quote from an anonymous Navy S.E.A.L., “Under pressure, we don’t rise to the occasion, we sink to the level of our training. That’s why we train so hard.”

Isaac: My mom gave me this advice when I was not confident in my training progress. She said that I need to be patient and trust that the hard work will show in my races.

Q: In what ways has rowing helped in your life, outside the boat?

Laura: When training on-water, conditions are ever-changing. One of the greatest lessons I learned during particularly strong winds is that though I didn’t have control over the weather, I could control how I reacted to the environment, physically and emotionally. I’ve been able to apply this principle to manage difficult situations outside of the boat.

Isaac: Rowing has taught me that a lot of worthwhile things take a lot of hard work and dedication every day to be able to achieve.

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