Athlete of the Week: Samantha Loriot

Samantha Loriot is a junior elementary education major from Somerville, New Jersey. Loriot joined the women’s rowing team during her freshman year in 2015. She recalls that she fell in love with the sport during that first semester of practice. Loriot mentions that she loves how rowing requires no previous experience to be great, it’s just about how hard you are willing to work in order to achieve your goals.

What made you decide to come to NSU?

“I originally was a marine bio major, so I came here for that, but then I took my first bio class and realized I hated it. So then I had to find something else that I really cared about, which was teaching. I actually was going to leave NSU after that because they are mainly known for sciences, but I actually stayed because of rowing.”

Why did you decide on elementary education?

“Little kids are the most amazing things and they have so much untapped potential. Being someone who can influence them in their lives is just great.”

What is your favorite part of being on the rowing team?

“The rowing team actually brought me two of my closest friends; they’re my best friends and I can’t imagine life without them now. It’s really nice to have that support no matter what you’re doing. If you say to the team ‘hey, I’m struggling and I need help with this subject,’ someone who has taken the class will be there to help you. Or even if you just need a ride to the airport, there’s always going to be someone who can offer it to you. That’s just really nice because a lot of people come to school and they are worried since they don’t have a lot of friends here and it can be hard to make friends in school. So it’s good to have that already built in. Everyone on the team is like my sister. It’s great.”

How would you describe the team dynamic?

“We’re really close and we’re really good at pushing each other without explicitly saying so. If you see someone else going fast, it just makes you want to go faster. We’re very internally competitive, but not to the point where it’s a bad thing. It’s a good thing because the team pushes itself. Everyone meshes pretty well together. The team itself is kind of like a well-oiled machine. It’s really nice because there is always someone to push you no matter what. You may be the fastest on the erg, but there may be someone deadlifting more than you. As everyone else gets stronger, you also get stronger.”

How did you get started with rowing?

“I actually never rowed before college. I was a three-sport athlete in high school; I did basketball, softball and cheerleading. I told myself that when I came to school I was not going to do a sport, and I thought it was going to be awesome because I had never not played a sport in my life. I was going to have so much time on my hands, but then I got here and I was bored out of my mind. I had someone from the rowing team approach me at orientation and they said something along the lines of ‘you have really thick thighs, have you ever thought about rowing?’ because of the leg power involved in rowing. So, I got here and the meeting was a few weeks into school and I decided to go with a couple of friends. My friends ended up dropping, but I loved it and I have stayed with it.”

Do you have any specific training methods or rituals that you do before you compete?

“A lot of people have something specific that they wear during a race, like we have a coxswain who would wear a panda pin on her hat as her lucky charm. I have a pair of shark racing socks that I always wear during a race. That’s pretty much it. When you’re racing, it’s kind of different from any other sport in that not everyone competes at the same time and you might be going from one boat right to another, so you don’t have that time when everyone warms up together. Really just the socks, though. A lot of people have specific socks that they wear because you don’t wear shoes in the boat, just socks, so a lot of people are very particular about what socks they wear.

What are your plans after graduation?

“That’s kind of a loaded question. I don’t really know where I’m going to go. Quite honestly, I will probably go back home for a while until I get my footing I guess, and I would love to do rowing once I graduate. I’m not sure how that is going to work though because there are not any rowing clubs by me which really stinks. But, I’ll probably just start teaching back home, and then find somewhere to live on my own ideally. I feel like you don’t really know that, though, until you’re done and just sort of thrown into it. Everyone has plans for what they want to do once they graduate, but a lot of times it just doesn’t really work out how you want it to.”

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