Olympic Trials Prep: Halfway Update

By: Hillary Saeger & Erin Roberts

For the past few weeks, we have been been able to get in some good pieces and solid rows at the Bypass Canal. While we loved rowing out of the Steward's Foundation on the Hillsborough River, we just couldn't turn down the opportunity to row on a buoyed course just down the road. Both the University of South Florida and Tampa Area Crew master's programs were super hospitable and accommodating, welcoming us into their boathouse to store our boats and allowing us to use their equipment.

We maximized our time on this body of water, which offered less boat traffic than we faced on the Hillsborough, in the early mornings and late afternoons as to avoid the hottest times of the day. Though it's only March, it's really beginning to heat up here in Tampa. It's much warmer & more humid than in Boston!

We are excited to be working towards a common goal and are eager to be picking up speed, but we have also found ways to relax and distract ourselves during the day in fun and unique ways.

Lauren & I built legos in our downtime.

Lauren & I built legos in our downtime.

Then on Friday night, March 11th, we got the awesome opportunity to go to the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game as they took on the Philadelphia Flyers at Amalie Arena. Hockey in Florida? Yes – and this was definitely hockey done right. The Lightning (4th in the Eastern Conference and 3rd in the Atlantic Division with 40 wins and 29 losses) are doing very well this season, and we got the VIP treatment as we watched them in action – all you can eat food and drinks in the Chase Lounge, a tour of the stadium with an up close view of the ice and trip to the press room, and a team appearance on the JumboTron where Molly Hamrick was interviewed. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay lost 3-1, but everyone still enjoyed a very chill, delicious chance to watch some coordinated athletics for a change and hangout with their teammates. Thanks to Stephan Athan (one of our host parents) for organizing the event and to the Tampa Bay Lightning for having us.

We're switching venues tomorrow, moving boats down to Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, where Trials will be held next month. We'll be commuting to Sarasota from Tampa for practice next week, then switching host families next weekend and living full-time in Sarasota!