Feb. 11, 2013
By: Colleen Costello, a junior on the SMU rowing team
On February 2, the women of the SMU rowing team competed in the SWEAT (Southwest Ergometer Amateur Tournament) competition. As one of the best measures of a rower's speed, completing an indoor 2k test is something that almost every rower despises. It not only tests the athlete's physical abilities but their mental strength as well. I sat down with Emily Carstens, the two-time gold medal finisher to ask her a few questions about how she prepares for a 2k.
Q: What was your winning time at the SWEAT? Is this a PR for you?
A: 7:14. That isn't a personal record for me; it was actually about 4 seconds slower than I was hoping to pull.
Q: Do you have a strategy when getting ready for a 2k?
A: I do. The night before I make sure I get plenty of sleep and I take time to visualize my race. The next day I talk myself up to the challenge (I tell myself how simple the goals are I want to achieve and that there is no reason why I won't do well today) Right before I calm down and enter the "zone" if you will. During warm-up, the key is to get your body physically hot. I keep on as much clothing as I possibly can. When I'm sitting ready I keep my eyes closed waiting for the countdown, which is what I do in races.
Q: What is the hardest part of a 2k? And how do you overcome that challenge?
A: On the mental side: the time leading up to the 2k is the most challenging. No matter how many I do, I am always a little anxious. But once you are into the piece, it is so quick your mind can hardly keep up. On the physical side: For me that third 500 meters is the hardest. It's where the rubber meets the road. The first thousand is so quick and the last 500 is pure guts, but that third 500 is just a wasteland.
Q: How would you describe completing a 2k to someone who doesn't know what that is?
A: It's one of the hardest and subsequently most rewarding experiences. It's a marrying of physical and mental strength in which your biggest competitor and cheerleader is your ego.
Q: Do you observe what those around you are pulling, or just focus on yourself?
A: A little bit of both. I mostly focus on my own race, but it's always good to know how close your competition is.
Q: Do you have any future goals for the rest of the season?
A: I really want to break 7:00 min for my 2k which will make me the fastest woman in SMU Rowing history. My pr is a 7:06, so 7:00 is easily attainable.