February 23, 2011

Schuster Happy She Stuck With Rowing

By Carolyn Linck, '11

Laurel Schuster (LS) of women's rowing knows the value of seeing a commitment through.  One of only two seniors for the Broncos this year, Schuster is grateful she has stuck with crew the past four years at Santa Clara University.   Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Schuster about her rowing career at SCU, how she got started in the sport and how she plans to keep rowing after graduation.

SCB: How did you get started in rowing? Is rowing a popular sport in your hometown, Northbrook, Illinois?

LS: I got interested in crew because I have done sports my whole life, and

I did not want to give that up when I went to college. I knew of a few people at my high school that started crew when they went to college, and they really got me interested in the sport. I did a learn-to-row program the summer before my senior year of high school and really fell in love with it. After that, when I was college searching one of my first criteria was that the school had a crew team.

SCB: What other sports did you play growing up?

LS: I grew up a gymnast. I started at the age of two and competed in meets around the country until high school. In high school I was on the gymnastics team as well as cross country and track.

SCB: How has being a member of the Santa Clara University women's rowing team shaped your college experience? What are some of your best memories from your four years of rowing for the Broncos?

LS: Being a member of the women's rowing team has definitely given me a different college experience than most students. Having to wake up at 5:15 every morning has meant I have to make some sacrifices, but the experiences I have gotten from being on the team are something I would never change. I love the bonding that goes on with the girls.  Some of my best memories are just from hanging out with my teammates. It is a great feeling to be able to push yourself through a race knowing that everyone in the boat with you is doing the same thing, and we are all there working as hard as we can for each other.

SCB: How do you view your role on the team as a senior? In what ways do you try to help some of the younger or less experienced rowers?

LS: Being one of only two seniors on the team, I have a responsibility to the younger rowers to be someone they can come to with any questions they have. The sport is completely new to more than half of our team, so I think that any advice I can give is helpful.  I try to be a good role model and show the younger girls that it is worth it to stick with the sport for all four years. The other senior and I also plan team bonding events to make it easier for everyone to make friends and have fun, because in the end people are more likely to stick with something they enjoy from all aspects.

SCB: What are you looking forward to most this season?

LS: I am really looking forward to WCC Championships and being able to show the other schools how far we have come this year. Our new coach has implemented a lot of good changes to our training plan and our technique on the water. I think that it will pay off when the championships come around. Our goal is to place 3rd in the varsity 8 race, which will be a great improvement from years past.

SCB: What are your post-graduation plans?

LS: After graduation, I plan to move back home to Chicago. I will be working at the accounting firm of Ernst & Young and studying to pass the CPA exam. There are a few rowing clubs in Chicago, so I will definitely be looking into the possibility of joining one of them. I also hope to be able to make it back to California to watch some races and to row in the Santa Clara alumni boat at the San Diego Crew Classic.