Written by Student Assistant Sarah Cornell-Maier
TACOMA, Wash. – Pacific Lutheran University sophomore rower Hannah Peterson is a busy woman. Between her sport, academics, working as an ASPLU Senator, and sleeping, Peterson rarely has time to herself. All of her hard work has paid off, however, as Peterson was just selected to attend the US Rowing Women's Under-23 Selection Camp this summer.
"When I found out I got accepted I was so excited," said Peterson. "I was also hesitant – I had already accepted a cultural immersion mission through Army ROTC, and I was scheduled to go to Nepal during the time-frame that this camp takes place."
If it weren't for the support Peterson received from both her coach and her ROTC Cadre, Peterson may not have gotten to the place she is now.
"I could not take this opportunity without the support of my ROTC cadre. They have answered all of my questions and provided essential insight into my decision between the Nepal mission and this rowing opportunity. Ultimately, they left the choice up to me, and have made it very clear that they fully support me and are cheering for me."
Head Rowing Coach Andy Foltz was another influence for Peterson.
"Andy has also been supportive; he first introduced me to the possibility back at the beginning of the season. I'm hugely grateful for the experiences he provides for me and the team."
Peterson is the only athlete selected for this camp from a non-Division I school, making this feat that much more impressive. As the sole Division III student-athlete heading to the Caspersen Boathouse in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, Peterson will have a lot of eyes on her as she competes for a spot on the women's under-23 national team.
Peterson is a force to reckon with on the water, and her scores on the rowing simulator (ergometer, erg for short) show that. Peterson set the 2,000-meter erg record for PLU, finishing the distance test in six minutes, 57.5 seconds, just under two seconds faster than the previous record, set by PLU Alumna and 2004 Olympian Sarah Jones. Peterson is also on the record board for her 6K erg test, completing the distance in 23:03.51.
Peterson will be competing against a field of strong, capable athletes at the Selection Camp. Of the 34 women invited to the camp, 13 come from schools that have won a National Championship within the last 20 years. However, this doesn't shake Peterson.
"Andy has told me that my erg times are 'in the ballpark' of what they are looking for, but I haven't been rowing that long. I'm looking forward to learning a lot and being very adaptable to what the coaches say."
Peterson will be arriving in New Jersey on June 5th, and will row several times a day with the 33 other athletes competing for spots to travel to Bulgaria for the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
"I'm really looking forward to this experience! I want to get better at rowing and bring that experience back to PLU for the rest of my home team! I am also excited for the chance to experience what I expect to be the most competitive environment I have ever been in, and I want to learn how to manage myself there."