By Emily Winslow
Freshman Madison Thomas (Ontario, Canada) is in her first season with the rowing team. In her final year of high school, she received the Welland Centennial Secondary School's Sportsperson of the Year Award.
What has been your favorite part about the training trip so far?
Thomas: "I really like the feedback that we get from the coaches. I think it's really valuable. I know it's helped me to identify some things that I'm doing wrong and think of different ways to understand that and fix it."
What has been the most difficult part about Florida training so far?
Thomas: "Just mostly that it's all rowing all the time. There is no mental break from rowing. Physically, yeah I'm sore, but it's just menally challenging. That's the tough part."
How is Florida training similar to any rowing experiences you had in high school?
Thomas: "In high school I went on a training trip to Sarasota and the volume was kind of similar to what we're doing now. We would to a couple practices a day, which were a few hours each. They were mostly long distance."
What are you expecting from the rest of the week?
Thomas: "High volume. I don't really know what I'm expecting. Sometimes on the water the coaches switch up what we're expecting a bit."
What are your personal goals for Florida training?
Thomas: "I've got some personal technique things that I want to work on. I know they won't necessarily be fixed by the end, but I want to get a good start on fixing them. I think that will really help me prepare for when we get on the water in Rhode Island, If I just know how I can fix it.'
How has the trip helped you to get to know your teammates better?
Thomas: "All of us are together all the time. For example as a freshman, I didn't really know Jess Hiltz, our team manager, all that much. But I'm rooming with her this week and I've gotten to know her quite well. I've also gotten to know some more of the sophomores, who I didn't really talk to that much before, but they've been in my van this week. I've gotten a lot closer with several of the freshman too. I think think we gel better. When we did our team relay this week it just felt like everyone was there for eachother and we're all a team now.'
How is the training trip different for you than regular season training?
Thomas: "It's just definitely a lot more rowing. From what I've experienced, during the regular season we row in the morning but our afternoon workout will be like running or erging or both, but we're not on the water again. It's just like a lot more rowing on the water, which is nice, but different."
How has the training trip gotten you excited for the upcoming spring season?
Thomas: "We keep talking about our end-of-season goals for A10s and NCAAs, which is really exciting. I like that were starting to focus more towards our goals. It doesn't feel like we're just getting on the water and rowing. Every stroke we take is leading us to our goals. I can feel the energy in the boat when we do pieces. We all want it really bad."
What have you learned so far during the training trip?
Thomas: "I've learned that I'm a lot tougher than I thought. My body can take a lot more. Especially in the relay yesterday, that was pretty tough. I was a little nervous for it to begin with, but then we started and I was like, 'Wait, I can do this.' I just stuck with that mindset and I did it. Same with training everyday. At first I thought, 'Oh my gosh, this is going to be hard.' I mean it's still hard everyday, but now I'm used to it and I go into it with the mindset, 'Okay, this is what we're doing and I'm going to finish it.'"