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Katrin Sydlik is a senior on the ninth-ranked Virginia rowing team. The Cavaliers earned a berth to the 2008 NCAA Championships, being held May 30-June 1 in Sacramento, Calif. Sydlik is the bow seat on the Varsity Eight crew, which most recently won at South/Central Regionals and was named the ACC’s Crew of the Year.

Question: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
Katrin Sydlik
: I put smiley face stickers on my arms.

Question: As a fourth-year, you were rowing at South/Central Regionals during final exercises. What was that like?
: It was actually pretty nice just being with people I knew rather than a lot of people I don’t. It was nice to have a more private ceremony.

Question: Being from Germany, your parents were able to watch you row in college for the first time at regionals, what was that feeling like?
: It was really exciting. My dad rows and he loves to watch rowing so it was great.

Question: Is that how you got into rowing, from your father?
: Yes, I was very young, 10 years old I think. I never actually went out with him in a boat, actually I wanted to run and do track and field but they didn’t have a coach. So I knew the rowing coaches and so I decided to try rowing. And I liked it a lot.

Question: As a first-year, you rowed on the course in Sacramento where NCAAs are being held this year. What do you remember about it?
: Well I was part of the Varsity Four, we were undefeated that season and we won our race so that was really exciting. We had a lot of confidence going out there and we rowed a great race and it was a special experience. The lane drawing is a little different out there because the higher seeds are not put in lanes two, three and four, they are put in lanes one and two, closer to the shore. My first time there, I had never been to California so it was really cool that year.

Question: And now, three years later, you are the bow seat of the Varsity Eight.
: Yeah. I always thought I was put in the bow because my blade was late. I guess if you’re in the back, it doesn’t show as much. So in the fall I was switched from the seven seat to the bow.

Question: What is clicking well with the Varsity Eight right now?
: I think the middle part of the race is our strongest suit right now. In the middle is where it doesn’t matter if we’re ahead or if another boat is ahead of us, we always move through the middle.

Question: What is your major and what are your post-graduation plans?
: My major is sociology. I’m going to stick around Charlottesville and try to find a job in the social work field.

Question: As a senior, how will it feel to row your last race at NCAAs?
: I don’t know. I will definitely miss it. I’ve been rowing for a long time and before I came here I was always in a single or a double, by myself or with one other person. This is totally different, rowing with seven other people and an entire team. So I will miss that. And being yelled at by a coxswain!

Question: What’s the hardest part about rowing?
: The ergo meter machine. Because it’s just numbers and it’s just you. It’s not on the water, and rowing is a water sport. Winter training is pretty hard to get through.

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