See You In Sarasota: Meet The Women’s Eight

In just a few short days the 2017 World Rowing Championships will begin in Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. Meet the nine women who will be representing the United States as they race in the women’s eight.

(c) Katelin GuregianSarah DoughertyGrace LatzCorinne “Coco” SchoellerSophia VitasLauren SchmetterlingKelly PierceEmily Regan, and Meghan Wheeler will race for a spot atop the medal stand.

Fast Facts:

  • Meghan Wheeler earned third place in a local 10k Turkey Trot, and recently learned how to cook
  • Sophia is a backgammon and New York Times crossword enthusiast
  • Katelin attended high school in Flordia
  • Grace started a game-day recycling program for the University of Wisconsin athletics department
  • Kelly Piece can speak Japanese, and is “definitely a Slytherin”
  • Sarah prides herself on salad-making skills and swam for eight years before rowing
  • 2017 will official mark Lauren’s fifth year rowing in the women’s eight
  • Coco was born in Miami and is also a Slytherin

Follow along with these women as they compete: @katelinguregian, @sarahedougherty, @grace.latz, @totallycacao, @sophvitas, @kellpossible, @reganem1, and @meghanwheeler

What does it mean to you to be able to represent the U.S. at Worlds in your home country?

Meghan: Being able to represent the US on the national team is the cumulation of years of hard work, and for that reason it means a great deal. Worlds be ing the U.S. adds an additional level of pride, and I am excited that the U.S. can have more exposure to rowing.

Sophia: It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to race at home in my first senior team especially being able to have my friends and family there to support me means the world.

Katelin: I’m excited that my family and friends will be able to watch the races! I grew up in Florida and am proud to welcome the rowing world.

Grace: So awesome! I’m looking forward to having my extended family and friends can travel to watch me row!

Kelly: This is a unique opportunity – so many friends and family have followed and supported my rowing career for so long – it’s amazing that they’ll be able to come and watch me compete for my country at the highest level in this sport.

Sarah: Representing the US in my home country is an incredible opportunity. When I started rowing at University of Washington five years ago, I never would have thought I’d be where I am today. I’m so grateful for all my coaches and teammates, past and present, who have helped me get here. I’m so excited to race in Sarasota and make all those people proud.

Lauren: I’m excited to have Worlds in Florida – many of my friends and family are going to be able to spectate the competition.

Coco: I’m really excited! I’m from Florida so both of my parents will be able to make the trip and watch me race. It’s really special that the world of rowing will be coming to my home state, and I can’t wait to share this experience with all of my teammates!

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

Meghan: I wish that I had known that time goes by really fast and that I should take time to remember each race and moment with my friends. Also, keeping a journal is very helpful and fun to look back on.

Sophia: don’t wear loose shorts erging/rowing

Katelin: HAVE FUN! Winning is not the most important thing. Also, don’t hide under orange trees when you are supposed to be running.

Grace: I think it’s better to not know too much and overthink things as a novice. It’s better to keep the beginner’s mind all the time.

Sarah: I wish I knew not to grip the oar too tight and give myself carpal tunnel.

Lauren: I think that it’s important for novice rowers to have fun and enjoy the sport.

Coco: I wish I had known that my best friends would come from this sport and that I was starting a lifelong journey.

Who inspires you?

Meghan: My current teammates at the training center as well as my past Princeton teammates inspire me every day. It’s an honor to be able to row in an eight with people who have been role models to me for so long, like Lauren and Katelin. My college coach, Lori, is a huge inspiration for me and has encouraged me to do all I can. My parents also inspire me every day. Batman, the dark night, is also a major inspiration.

Sophia: My parents. They’ve given me an incredible amount of support and they inspire me to put forward my best every day.

Katelin: My family— they value work ethic over everything else and inspire me to do the same

Grace: My teammates. I strive to reflect the best! See in my teammates everyday. It’s tough being at the training center between training, injuries, selection, and random life events and through it all I admire my teammates whether I race with them or not.

Kelly: My teammate Lauren Schmetterling. She’s a sterling testament to the mantra that hard work beats talent every time. She inspires me to push for more instead of accepting “good enough.”

Sarah: First and foremost, my parents inspire me. They are constantly loving and supporting me through this process. Secondly, my Washington teammates. The four years I spent there were the most incredible and memorable four years of my life. They shaped me into the person and athlete I am today and inspire me every day.

Lauren: I am inspired by Liane Malcos Keister. She was one of my coaches at Riverside and she truly has the spirit of a champion.

Coco: Michael Colella for his cooking skills and uplifting personality. Also, Tessa Gobbo and John and Phoebe Murphy for starting me on the National Team path and always supporting me.

What is your pre-race routine?

Meghan: The morning of a race I try to stay relaxed and not get too nervous. I eat candy and go for a jog to warm up. I also like to visualize the race, but only once.

Sophia: Listening to some music and reading the news to relax and distract me.

Katelin: Go over my race plan at least 5 times and VISUALIZE how to respond in the worst case scenario.

Grace: I make a point to not have a strict pre-race routine because every race is different and I wouldn’t want to get thrown if I have to scrap something if the schedule changes.

Kelly: In an ideal world I wake up really early, enjoy a coffee or three and putz around on the erg for about half an hour. Then I listen to some pre-race tunes, finish my coffee, and GO

Sarah: The night before the race. I watch the movie Chef. The morning of, I have a cup of coffee with my usual oatmeal breakfast. Spend some time thinking about the race plan and visualizing the race, then take my mind off of it and get warmed up.

Lauren: I try to keep my pre-race routine as consistent as possible with my routine at practice.

Coco: Starbucks, La Croix, beet juice. I go on a jog around the course just to check out the conditions then stretch.

What are you known for on the team?

Meghan: I’m known for being happy all the time and being the go-to person for recommendations and discussions on TV and movies.

Sophia: Having the longest femurs

Katelin: Crying too much

Grace: Being calm, level-headed, mentally tough. Boat whisperer and good at pinpointing technical changes. Always having ice cream in the fridge. Dresses like a real person.

Kelly: Showing up an hour early to practice every day, liking pictures of cats on social media, making divisive erg playlists, overthinking everything.

Sarah: Being “DJ Sarah D” and the one with the high heart rate.

Lauren: I am known for loving snacks and generally being a maniac.

Coco: My dry sense of humor and La Croix addiction.

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