By Emily Winslow
Sophomore Julia Fortin (Barrington, R.I.) made the team last year as a walk-on and was on the Varsity 4+ boat that won its flight at the 2019 Atlantic 10 Championship and then placed 19th at the NCAA Championship. It was the highest finish ever by a URI boat at nationals.
What is it like to be in Florida with your teammates on the URI women's rowing team for a second year?
Fortin: "I mean it's really cool. I think it becomes special because, at least last year since I was a walk-on, I was just asked to come to Florida. This year I had to prove to come to Florida by meeting the team standards, which is really cool. It's just a great experience being here, being able to row outside in the warm weather with everyone is so much fun."
What are your expectations for this year in Florida?
Fortin: "Hopefully to get faster and work on technique so we can make it more solid throughout the winter. We want to remember what we learned when we get back on the water in the spring, and just be ready to attack the spring once we're on the water."
What are you most looking forward to about the training trip?
Fortin: "Just being with the team because we've been away from each other for so long. It's so nice to just get back together and be able to focus on just rowing rather than balancing school, rowing and other social life. Now we can just worry about rowing, being together as a team, and the sport."
What are your most fond memories from last year's Florida training?
Fortin: "Last year I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I walked on and then I was asked to come to Florida. I knew it was two practices a day but I wasn't expecting to be on the water for around two hours, and that would be a normal thing, and then again in the afternoon. I wasn't expecting the huge intensity. But my most fond memory was just getting to know the team because I didn't know anyone, at all. I knew some of the freshmen. I knew names, but being able to put names with faces was just really nice."
What are your personal goals for the trip?
Fortin: "Just to work on my technique. I know, like everybody, I have a lot to work on. So hopefully that will help me gain some speed."
What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of the trip for you?
Fortin: "The intensity. You go from being at home - doing workouts by yourself, and it's so hard to motivate yourself at home to do all the work - to coming here and it's so intense. There's so much volume. It's a big change for sure."
How do you think Florida training brings you closer to your teammates?
Fortin: "We're all going through it together. We all know what we're doing is pretty insane, but it's really rewarding in the long run. We just have to remind ourselves, this is all for a reason. We all want to win A10s so let's just get the work done and get faster."
How is Florida training unique from other team experiences?
Fortin: "When we have regular practice, we go to class afterwards and here our lives are focused around rowing. It's really unusual for being 'student-athletes.' On this trip we're allowed to just be athletes because no one has any work to do. So it's kind of special just grinding it out.
Emily Winslow is a senior on the women's rowing team and an intern with the Sports Information office. During the team's training trip in DeLand, Fla., Winslow is doing a series of question-and-answer interviews with other members of the team.