US Olympic Golden Girl and World Rowing's Athlete of the Month

The Olympic Golden Girl and World Rowing Athlete of the Month:
Emily Regan

The odds of becoming an Olympic athlete are less than one-percent. The odds of being an Olympic gold medalist? Even slimmer. But for American rower, Emily Regan, she defied both odds.

Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, the Olympics were never on Regan’s horizon growing up. As a walk-on at Michigan State University, the 29-year-old quickly excelled to the top of the sport graduating as a First-Team All American and as Big 10’s Rower of the Year. Now based at the Olympic Training Center in Princeton, New Jersey, Regan has a long list of accolades to her name including three gold medals from the World Rowing Championships, and an Olympic Gold medal from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. With her sights set on another Olympic gold, Regan is one to watch for the future.

EngineRm sat down with Regan to learn about her Olympic experience and her motivation behind a difficult erg workout. 

You began rowing at Michigan State, what attracted you to the sport?

When I first started rowing I really wasn't interested in being an athlete or rowing. I started with my college roommate and the people were the only thing that kept me in the sport at first. Eventually I became addicted to the adrenaline of racing and started to really enjoy the training and being outside on the water.

What’s your favorite erg workout?

My favorite and least favorite workouts are the same. I like the workouts that we repeat weekly. They're usually the most painful, but it's always fun to see positive progress over time. One common example is 3x10' where we increase stroke rating by 2 beats after 4, 7, and 9 minutes. In this workout you can work power per stroke at the lower rates and your lactate threshold as the stroke rate increases.

How do you mentally get through a hard workout?

I really like to negative split. I find it really helps me to go out at pace I know I can hold and then as the piece progresses push the pace as much as I can. I am also a big fan of counting strokes.

How did it feel to represent the USA at the Olympics and win a gold medal?

Representing the USA at the Olympics Games is incredible because you get to do it with all of top athletes from so many different sports in your country and from around the world. Seeing and interacting with the other athletes makes the experience so unique and fun.

Winning a Gold medal in Rio was as amazing as you can imagine, but it was also so much more emotional than I ever anticipated. The Olympics was a goal I trained for as an elite athlete for 5.5 years before it became a reality. So in that moment when we finally won, I was so overcome with the emotion of the journey that it took to get there—the best and the lowest moments where I thought even making an Olympic team was way out of reach. On top of all that, I was really lucky to share the win with 8 other girls and my entire family.
Lizzy Youngling
Lizzy Youngling


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