Amanda Chase, a senior rower from Woodbridge, Va., recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to preview the upcoming ACC Championship and talk about the season so far. Chase and the UVa rowing team compete on Monday, April 20, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., looking to win their 10th-straight conference crown.
Question: Talk about what it will take to win a school-record 10th-consecutive ACC Championship next week in Oak Ridge, Tenn. How will the team spend the week preparing?
Chase: There are so many things I could say about what it will take to win this championship, but I believe the two main things will be teamwork and heart. If we put our blades in the water together and push hard, we will be fine. We know what is on the line and this race is going to be really hard because of the stiff competition, but we all have the heart and dedication to come out of Oak Ridge with a victory. We are practicing really hard this week, just like previous weeks. Our goal this week is to row better together and gain easy speed.
Question: What can you say about the race course at Oak Ridge? Obviously the team has a ton of experience there since South/Central Regionals are held there.
Chase: The race course in Tennessee is beautiful and has great water most of the time! Up to six boats can be racing at one time, which is pretty awesome considering most bodies of water we row on are a lot smaller. I find the buoys to be really helpful because they are color coded. The color helps us know where we are in the race because they change every 500 meters. The buoys are red in the last 250 meters, so when we see those we know we have to kick it into another gear.
Question: Saturday at Lake Monticello was Senior Day. What were your emotions like as you competed there for the last time?
Chase: During the races on Saturday some of my younger teammates reminded us fourth-years that this was our last home race and that is when I became a little emotional. These are girls I hang out with on and off the water, so not seeing them next year and competing with them to achieve one goal is going to be really hard. The fourth-years do have a special bond. A lot of us have been on the team for the entire four years, so we have been through thick and thin with each other.
Question: The team also dedicated the Varsity Eight boat on Saturday, named after Melanie Kok [Class of 2007, Olympic silver medalist] and Lindsay Shoop [Class of 2004, Olympic gold medalist]. What has been your interaction with them at Virginia? Are they role models within the program?
Chase: I have known Mel for the past four years. I was a first-year when she was a third-year. She is definitely one talented and amazing role model to our team. I not only look up to her for her rowing ability but also her leadership and dedication. Lindsay graduated before I came to UVa, but she has visited and talked to us a lot about her experiences with rowing. Lindsay is a great role model for our team because she shows us that we can achieve whatever we believe.
Question: You were selected as a team captain for the 2008-09 season. What does that mean to you and how would you describe your leadership style?
Chase: Being selected one of the captains for this season was incredible. Knowing that my teammates see me as a leader and a role model still gives me goose bumps. My leadership style matches my personality - competitive yet goofy. Competitive leadership because I want all of us to be able to accomplish anything we put our minds to and also to race each other everyday no matter who or what it is. Goofy leadership because some days we aren’t having a good day, so being able to put a smile on someone’s face or having some good laughs is important.
Question: You are a studio art major. Is that something you’ll pursue once your athletic career is over?
Chase: I just had my fourth-year art exhibition. This is a final project for art majors, and I have to put my work up in a gallery and have people come and look at my work. So many of my teammates and coaches came out and supported me with my show. Art is one side they had not seen from me before, so I believe they see me as a different person now, more artsy! Art has helped me become more free and relaxed. I really want to be an art teacher for little children because I want to open up a child’s mind to the creative world out there.
Question: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Chase: What spare time? Most of the time I am hanging out with my teammates, or in the training room doing rehab for my back and ribs. Since we are in-season right now there is not much spare time because we race every weekend, but when there is I am either doing something artsy or baking. I love cooking and baking for people!
Question: What is your favorite Coach Sauer quote?
Chase: Bridget Fowler, my teammate, put all of Kevin’s quotes together to make a sentence, so I would say that would be my favorite! It is: “We are taking this opportunity and risk to take a chance to put our butts in the sling and say no way Jose, I’m building a cathedral!”
Question: What is your proudest athletic achievement?
Chase: My proudest moment in rowing has been when I won NCAAs my second year in the Varsity Four. The feeling of accomplishing a goal with my teammates and friends is amazing. I will never forget the chills that ran down my body as we crossed the finish line. Hopefully this year we as a team can have this same feeling.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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