Row to Tokyo - Senior Team Athletes Share Their Thoughts on Selection Process

May 19, 2021

Row to Tokyo - Senior Team Athletes Share Their Thoughts on Selection Process

The Tokyo Olympics are right around the corner! We sat down with some of the senior team athletes to learn more about their experiences. Alex Miklasevich, Caryn Davies, and Elizabeth Sonshine shared with us their thoughts on senior team selection and their rowing journeys thus far. Miklasevich, Davies, and Sonshine are currently in selection for Tokyo 2020. We wish these athletes the best in competition! 

 

Caryn Davies - Position: Women’s Four 

What was your selection for the senior team?  

“My name’s Caryn Davies and I’ve been rowing for...wow, 24 years. I got invited to the pre-elite camp. That was back when they called it Nation’s Cup so, they didn’t call you 23, it was not as big. Got invited to that camp and then halfway through the summer, got bumped up to the senior team."  

Do you feel being on the U19 and U23 helped with selection for the senior team? 

“Not many of the people on the senior team had gone necessarily through the Nation’s Cup U23 program. Some had done the junior team, but a lot of them were just walk-ons in college that just went straight to the senior teams. So I said that I didn’t think it made a difference. I was talking with Jevie Stone at the time, and she said ‘no, I think you’re wrong. I think U23s are really important.’ And then my boyfriend, who was sitting there, and who’s a software engineer and interested in data analysis, said ‘well, we can figure this out’ (laughter). So, he went through the world rowing database, scrubbed all the data, analyzed it to try and figure out whether success at the U23 level predicted success at the senior level. Jury is still out (laughter). He was basically like, ‘well...maybe?’ But definitely I’ve noticed that in over the course of time that I’ve been rowing from my first Olympics, 2004, until now, more of the senior team has been through the U23 program. So it is definitely getting stronger and growing in importance.”  

Elizabeth Sonshine - Position: Women’s Sculling Spare 

What was your selection process like? 

“My name’s Elizabeth Sonshine and I’ve been rowing for 12 years. My mom actually signed me up for a camp at Craftsbury when I was 15 years old. And I really liked it, but there was no rowing in my high school. So, we kind of thought that I would just try it when I got to college. A lot of the people that are on the team now kind of came straight out of college. I took a more scenic route. I rowed in a bunch of different clubs. I rowed at Craftsbury in Vermont, I was with Riverside in Boston, and Orion in Saratoga before I was invited to the training center in 2017. Selection into the quad changed a little bit in 2017 and they allowed outside doubles to kind of seat-race their way in...and so I made the quad in 2017 and was invited to stay in Princeton after that.” 

Alex Miklasevich – Position: Men's Eight 

What was your selection for the senior team? 

“Hi, I’m Alex Miklasevich and I’ve been rowing for 9 years. So, like I said, I was on U23 teams. So the first one was very reliant on small boat skills, which I didn’t have very many (laughs). Um, so I kind of...so that was kind of a big hurdle to get over. And then the next year, I came back to Brown and I spoke with Paul, who’s the head coach there and he really got around to helping us get more small boat skills. So I was able to row single a lot more, which really helped transform – I felt like a new rower coming back, I’d learned so much.” 

Would you recommend that to anyone aspiring to take their rowing to the next level? 

“I think so...to be able to move a single and know what you’re doing there definitely helps.” 

 

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