Andrus Recalls her Summer at U.S. Rowing Pre-Elite Camp

SALEM, ORE. -- The past summer, Willamette University women's rower Hilary Andrus (Sr., Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) was selected to participate in a U.S. Rowing Pre-Elite camp in Bloomington, Indiana. The camp was designed to develop the skills of rowers with the potential to contribute to the U.S. Women's National Team or the U.S. Under-23 Team.

Andrus faced many challenging, exciting and rewarding opportunities during the camp. She competed in boats with other pre-elite campers at several regattas. The following account was provided by Andrus to share her experiences.

Hilary Andrus at U.S. Rowing Pre-Elite Camp

This summer, I was selected to train with eight other women as part of the US Rowing Pre-Elite Camp. We were located in Bloomington, Indiana, and rowed out of Indiana University's boathouse on Lake Lemon. We trained hard to develop our skills as scullers (where each rower carries two oars instead of just one). We learned to scull for three weeks then traveled to Philadelphia, Pa., for the Independence Day Regatta, held around the Fourth of July. It was a great experience, however, my racing did not go well and I placed nearly last.

We came home to Bloomington and trained for two more weeks before racing again at the U.S. Rowing Club Nationals at Oak Ridge, Tenn. It was a regatta that featured top rowers and clubs from all around the United States.

I raced in both a double (two people, four oars) and in a quad (four people, eight oars), sitting bow seat in both. In the double, we had a rough race, but beat a couple boats out of the 36 total that raced. However, in the quad, we made it to the final and placed 4th overall.

After this regatta, we headed back to Bloomington for two very intense training weeks on Lake Lemon. We increased the volume and intensity, and turned out some pretty fast boats.

At the end of the two weeks, we traveled to St. Catherine's, Ontario (Canada), for the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, one of the largest summer rowing venues. Since we had been training so hard we were rewarded with great results.

I raced in the Under-23 category in all of the races. In the double with my partner Helen Becz of Rutgers University, we placed 2nd in our heat and moved onto placing 4th in the semifinals, where we were ousted with only the top two going to the final. Overall, we placed 10th out of 46 doubles that raced.

In the quad with Helen, Caity Smith-Staines from the University of Iowa and Emily Pitts of Seattle Pacific University, we placed 2nd in our heat and 4th in the final. In 4th place, we beat out all of the other American crews, falling only to Canadian rowers.

An average week at camp consisted of eight rowing or erging (rowing machine) practices, two weight training sessions, and one mental skills or nutritional training session. The women at the camp were mostly from NCAA Division I programs, although there were two other women from Division II and Division III programs.

It was a really great experience and I have learned only a tiny bit of what is necessary to make it to the national team. But the training and the racing paid off, and we all improved so much.

Most of the women are looking toward improving their rowing with hopes of attending more camps in the future. I will be working towards attending another development camp next summer, although I'm not sure where it will be.

Willamette rower Hilary Andrus learned a lot and enjoyed the competition at the U.S. Rowing Pre-Elite Camp.

Willamette rower Hilary Andrus learned a lot and enjoyed the competition at the U.S. Rowing Pre-Elite Camp.