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Benedict Tufnell

Q&A: Katelin Guregian

by Benedict Tufnell

Katelin Guregian coxed the Washington Huskies men’s team to multiple national titles between 2006 and 2009 before going on to become a world and Olympic champion in the USA W8+. We caught up with her in issue 16 of Row360. 

Guregian (L) with the USA W8+ at World Cup II in Poznan, 2017.

Your greatest moment in rowing?

Coming from behind to win the 2014 World Cup 2 race. It was one of those races where we really came together as a group of 9, and became greater than the sum of our parts. The opportunity to have those moments is my favourite thing about rowing the 8+.

And your worst?

Getting cut from the 2010 world championships team – I didn’t take any ownership over my mistakes, and that made my failure really hard to accept. Thankfully I have learned a lot from that experience and am trying hard to be an aware athlete.

Who do you most admire in the sport?

My husband, Nareg. He is really positive and has always persevered in spite of defeat. Nareg is a relentless student of the sport and he really inspires that in me as well. One of the best days of my life was hearing that he made the 2016 Olympic team. We were on the water during his Olympic trials race, and when we found out the whole boat stopped rowing and started celebrating.

Guregian (far right) winning gold in Rio 2016.

Who do you most admire outside of rowing?

My family. My Mom and Dad have a really strong work ethic and have taught me that work can trump talent if you are willing to put in the time. My brother Ben is loyal and passionate, and helps me think outside the box and examine everything from different perspectives to my own.

What do you do to relax?

I like to wake up early every morning and spend about 45 minutes drinking my coffee and reading the news. I feel bad for my roommates when we travel, because I wake up like a grandma. But I like starting the day by taking my mind off rowing.

Guregian launched into Lac d’Aiguebelette by her crew after winning the 2015 World Rowing Championships.

Favourite sport to watch, other than rowing?

I really enjoyed watching other sports in Rio – I got to watch the women’s 10m dive with one of the diving team members – it was so cool to ask her questions about technique and get the inside scoop on how the scoring works. I don’t follow sports closely outside rowing, but I love watching other athletes who are at the top of their field.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given for rowing?

My college coach, Bob Ernst, advised me to keep a detailed notebook. It was difficult at first because I couldn’t see the real value in keeping a practice log – it felt cheesy to write down my “feelings” every day. But now I have an incredible encyclopaedia of the last 4 years of my career. I can go back to reference and learn from my own mistakes.

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