May 12, 2012
Women's rowing senior Lisa Roman is a psychology major at WSU and competed on the Canadian Under-23 National Team this past summer where she helped Canada take gold in the coxed-eight at the World Championships. She sat down with Cougars Quarterly to talk about her past experiences, her senior season, and goals for the program this spring.
CQ: How did you become involved in the sport of rowing?
Roman: I got involved with rowing when I was back home (Langley, B.C.). I was a figure skater for 13 years and wanted a change. There were rowing trials at my old campus (University of Fraser Valley) and I decided to try out and it went from there. I was noticed by Rowing British Columbia and they wanted me to try out for the Canada Games team.
CQ: How did you make the decision to come to WSU?
Roman: I'd say primarily because I knew people who had come to WSU. I knew that being a part of this program I would be able to jump in and help the team progress in the direction it has gone the last couple of years. These past two years we've gone to NCAAs and we have a really good push to go and do well this year. Coming here and pursuing the goal of going to the NCAA Championships every year was good for our team.
CQ: Do you have a ritual before you get in the boat or what kind of mindset do you take into the boat?
Roman: I think being a figure skater for so long mentally prepared me to be a relaxed rower. I don't do anything overly special before I go out. I usually don't get that nervous when I'm at the line. I think that comes from growing up skating. I was always so nervous when I skated that those nerves have kind of dissipated. I can't physically do anything wrong in rowing other than pull hard. It's simple for me and that's why I like the sport so much because it's simple, yet it's all about mentally focusing on pulling as hard as you can.
CQ: What is your best rowing memory?
Roman: I have a few. Rowing for Canada Summer Games was my first big event and that was really fun. I rowed with a couple of girls that row here, too, so it was pretty exciting because it was my first big regatta. The race was only a 1,200-meter race as opposed to a 2000-meter race so it was basically a straight-out sprint. That was cool. The Under-23 Rowing World Championships last summer was very special. I've been to NCAAs twice with WSU and those are always exciting.
CQ: If I was someone who had never heard of rowing, how would you describe it?
Roman: I would describe rowing as basically pushing your boundaries. If you don't think that you can exceed your maximum effort, then it's probably not the sport for you. But if you think that you can always bring yourself to another level and always improve on whatever you are doing then rowing is the perfect sport for you.
CQ: You rowed at the World Championships for Canada this past summer in the U-23 eight and helped the boat win for the first time in Canada's history. And not just won the race, but broke the previous world record. What did that feel like?
Roman: It was pretty amazing. Going out there we didn't really know what to expect. We knew it was going to be hard, but we thought we could win. That was our incentive, to win. I'd never been to a World Championship event and I'd never been out on the line against all these different countries. We knew we had a lot of work to do, but we worked really hard this past summer. We trained every day in the eight. We were always pushing the limits, putting everything out there. I think that going to the World Championships gave me the confidence to help foster an atmosphere at WSU that's conducive to winning. Everyone has jumped on board this year and really wants to do well. It has been beneficial to be able to share my experiences with my teammates.
CQ: What are your challenges either personally or as a team?
Roman: We really want to go to the NCAA Championships. Our biggest goal this year is to make it into the Grand Final at NCAAs. It's not just good enough to just go. We want to make an impact by being in the Grand Final. Everyone realizes we have to put in the work if we want to do well this season. Last year we said, "We have to go to NCAAs." Whereas this year we want to surpass that. As for myself, the biggest challenge is trying to be a solid team leader - creating a good environment for everyone to work hard in and to leave WSU in a better place than when I, and the rest of the seniors, got here.