After winning the national championship Sunday — and making history in the process — the only thing they feel is joy.
You have to be a little different to be a rower. You have to learn to make pain your friend.
Maybe that explains one of the Washington women’s rowing team’s mottos this year: Embrace the suck.
The Huskies decided eight months ago that the worse they suffer, the better. They even started rooting for inclement weather during practice — screaming wildly when hit by frosty wind gusts or torrential rain.
It was a survival technique, really. Sometimes tricking one’s mind is the only way to make such torment possible.
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But right now, the Huskies don’t have to play any mental games to perk themselves up. After winning the national championship Sunday — and making history in the process — the only thing they feel is joy.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said Brooke Pierson, the 6-seat of UW’s varsity-eight boat. “It makes everything worth it.”
Perhaps it’s fitting these Huskies enjoy rough waters, because for a while, the metaphorical seas were choppy, too. In November 2015, legendary coach Bob Ernst was fired as women’s coach after a 42-year tenure with UW crew.
The ouster was controversial, as many felt he was treated unfairly. But even on his way out, Ernst was sure of one thing: Yaz should be the one to replace him.
Yaz, in this case, is former Olympic coxswain Yasmin Farooq. And in addition to competing in the Barcelona and Atlanta Games, Farooq coached the Stanford women’s rowing team to a national title in 2009.
She was a whale of a job candidate, and in June of last year — seven months after Connor Bullis took over as interim coach — UW athletic director Jennifer Cohen hired her. Farooq didn’t waste a millisecond.
The first major change she made dealt with how her rowers trained. She instituted a “higher…