Feature by Student Assistant Kelsey Houlihan (KH)
KH: You received a Donovan Fellowship to visit Guatemala during the summer and have participated in immersion trips to El Salvador and Mexico. How have these trips added to your Santa Clara experience?
CF: These trips are definitely some of the most important aspects of my Santa Clara education and I extremely thankful for them. Living in these countries has opened my eyes to how the rest of the world lives. Even though the people I stayed with were economically-poor sustenance farmers, they were so incredibly generous and hospitable. Their livelihoods have really shown me what is most important in the world, which is appreciating the people around you, rather than obsessing over the material items we often idealize.
KH: Crew alumni recently donated a brand new Vespoli V1 Jet Fighter boat to the program. How is it working out for you guys?
CF: It's an awesome boat and really helps us keep a competitive edge. I'm so grateful that the alumni of the crew program continue to be invested in the program that brought them so many great memories.
KH: Did you row in high school? What motivated you to try out for the Santa Clara team?
CF: I ran cross-country and track and played club soccer in high school. I didn't plan on playing collegiate sports, but my brother had done crew his freshman year at SCU and met some great people. Even though most of them stopped rowing they continued to be best friends. So I thought going out for crew would be a fun way to meet people and stay in shape. I ended up falling in love with the sport and more importantly, the people. Crew is the epitome of a team sport because each guy pulls for the other and lays their heart on the line. The beauty and grace of it comes from every person trying to row in the exactly same way, and I love being a part of that effort.
KH: What time do you wake up for practice? And what motivates you to start your workouts before the sun is up?
CF: I wake up at 5:15 am (sigh) and my initial motivation to get up is the lingering thought that if I stay in bed, the other guys are going to come wake me up by force. But once you get up and get over the time, there's something really beautiful about being up that early. The fog that blankets the reservoir and surrounding birds chirping makes for a beautiful place to row. It's fun to see the world wake up.