Senior Sarah Patterson, a business administration major, has only been rowing since her freshman year of high school. She took up the sport when a friend told her to try it during a school orientation, and she has been hooked ever since.
The Orlando native rowed all four years at Winter Park High School and saw much success. In her junior and senior year, she was able to win the gold medal in both the city and the state Lightweight 8. She also earned the bronze medal at Scholastic Nationals for Varsity Lightweight in 2008. Her high school accomplishments helped her to get to where she is now, on an NCAA Division II team.
During Patterson’s freshman and sophomore year, the team won more than 20 races in 18 meets. She raced in the Varsity 4 boat that raced in the finals of the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Patterson’s biggest win came when she helped the Varsity 4 boat win at the 2011 Sunshine State Conference Championship. Their win ultimately helped the team become SCC champions for the fourth time in five years.
Patterson’s junior year consisted of just as much success as her first two years. At the FIRA Fall Classic, she was a part of the Varsity 8 A boat that beat the University of Florida Gators by 19 seconds with a time of 9:45. She also helped the Varsity 4 boat beat conference rival Barry University at the Barry Dual by over one minute. She helped the Sharks to secure a fifth conference title and win the gold medal in the Varsity 4 race at the Dad Vail Regatta.
I sat down with Patterson and asked her a few questions:
What is your biggest accomplishment in the sport?
Getting over a mystery diagnosis. I would get stomach aches after races. It took about eight months to figure out but I just kept racing for some reason.
What do you think the team has to do to win nationals?
We just have to focus on continuing to train hard. We can’t get cocky after doing well at races. We just have to keep our goal in mind and continue to push ourselves.
What do you like the most about rowing?
I think I like how you can be a different person when you’re rowing. You can push yourself past what you thought was possible. I really like being able to see just how much I can push myself.
What is the hardest part about being a student-athlete?
Definitely time management. We don’t have the luxury of pulling all-nighters or going out Friday night; I don’t know what that is. I’m lucky if I can go to bed at 9:30 and, sometimes, you have to choose between homework or sleep.
What was your favorite meet over the last four years?
It would be a tie between the Dad Vail Regatta last year and our SIRAs [Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships] race last year. We won them both and they were a lot of fun.
Do you think that it is good or bad that the Sharks are ranked number two?
It’s good. It’s nice to be at the top but it was a little surprising. We weren’t expecting to be ranked second. We just want to stay there or go up.
If you had one superpower, what would it be?
To move things with my mind because I can get really lazy sometimes. I can just sit more and relax.
If you had an all-expenses paid trip, where would you go?
I would go to Bora Bora, the little island place with the huts. I like the beach and it looks really pretty there. It’s probably really expensive, so if it’s all expenses-paid, then why not?
If you were to describe yourself as an animal, what would you be?
A honey badger because they have a cute name but they’re ferocious.