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May 22, 2013

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Virginia rowing senior coxswain Molly Frear (Wilton, Conn.) recently sat down with to talk about the Cavaliers winning the ACC Championship on May 12, preparing for the NCAA Championships and more. The Cavaliers look to defend their NCAA Championship May 31-June 2 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Question: What were your overall thoughts on the 2013 ACC Championships?

Frear: I thought it was a really great weekend. It was very different having ACCs at the end of the season as opposed to in the middle of the season, so it was fun to see how much speed some of the crews in the ACC had accumulated over the season. Duke’s 1V8 (Varsity Eight) had a great performance, which was really great to see. From our standpoint, it was really awesome to see how everybody, from the freshmen all the way up to fourth-years, stepped up and came together. Each boat really delivered something and showed that it had taken a couple steps forward. I think most crews also left room to show where they can go in the three weeks of training before NCAAs.

Question: In the last month, the Second Varsity Eight (for which Frear is the coxswain) has had some ups and downs and had some new faces in the lineup for the ACC Championships. Did those new faces make a big difference or do you think it’s just about finding the right lineup?

Frear: I think it’s about finding the right line- up. I think that the girls who came in, especially the fourth-years, brought a passion to ACCs, because it was our last one. That perhaps livened the last 500m of the race because we had a little more at stake. I think that the 2V8 is the middle-child boat, so it can be a tough boat. It’s not the top boat and it’s not the last boat, so it’s somewhere in the middle. It can be really hard to find not only the people of the right speed, but the people with the right attitude to approach practice everyday.

When you’re trailing the 1V8, especially a 1V8 that has performed as well as ours has, it can be a little disheartening some days. Sometimes you have to find people that have a really positive outlook and know how to gauge progress regardless of what’s happening outside of the boat. I think getting some fresh blood in (the 2V8) kind of pumped us up and got us ready to go out and take a step forward. We took that big step forward in practice that week. We showed some really great speed and when the conditions weren’t all favorable on the day of ACCs, we had a harder time seeing exactly what our results were, but it was definitely a step forward from the last time were down in Clemson. It’s going to be interesting to see what Coach (Kevin) Sauer does with the 2V8 in the next couple of weeks.

Question: Now that finals have finished have you seen an intensity increase in practice leading into the upcoming NCAA Championships?

Frear: Coach Sauer decided that it was time to mix things up a little bit and so we are seeing who is capable of moving boats from the 2V4 all the way up to the Varsity Eight. All the coxswains are getting opportunities at every boat, all the rowers are getting shots at every seat and everyone is pretty hyped up about it. The girls are in a lot of pain and for me, it hurts to talk. It’s like winter training in Florida all over again. I think the intensity is definitely amped up because everyone has something to gain and everyone has something to lose right now. It is really very competitive trying to find our speed and find the fastest three lineups (1V8, 2V8 and 1V4) and fastest spare pair. We have been doing all sorts of pieces and lineups of eight and four combinations and I think it’s kind of like the fresh blood in the 2V8. It’s brought a completely fresh feel to practice because everybody is going at it. This is the first time we’ve seen 2V4 and the 1V8 racing almost side by side in a couple months, which is really fun for everybody.

Question: How has the competition amongst coxswains gone this year?

Frear: I think that the upper classmen coxswains do a really great job of trying to bring in the newer coxswains to the squad, like Alissa Hornung and Sarah McGovern. Even though Sarah is older and is a transfer, they both are brand new to our style of training. It’s been really fun for some of the older coxswains and myself to see what they’re capable of, what they’re bringing to the table and to see them challenge us in new and different ways. Every coxswain brings her own flavor, and it can get a little heated at times, but overall, I think we do a good job to keep it as friendly as we possibly can.

Question: What are you going to miss most about the rowing program at UVa?

Frear: I’m going to miss these girls most. When we have recruits come on visits, we tell them the drama on this team is slim to none and the cat fights that you hear about on very large women’s teams just don’t happen with us. It’s 60 girls in their late teens and early 20’s, so people get in to it a little from time-to-time, but I think we all have a camaraderie respect for each other. Even after a tough practice of competition, we pull together and are still laughing and smiling at each other and remembering that it’s not personal. At the end of the day, we are all supporting each other and rooting for each other. I think that as I was trying to decide between job options, that that is the environment I was looking to emulate most. I’ve been really proud and really lucky to be a part of it and I really admire Coach Sauer and (assistant coach Brett) Sickler for sustaining a program that doesn’t pit athletes against each other and coxswains against each other. It’s about making everybody better, look good and trying to put out the best team that we can.

Question: What are you looking to do after UVa?

Frear: I have officially accepted an offer from JP Morgan Chase and will be starting there as an investment banking analyst this summer!

Question: Were you always looking to move back closer to home and the New York City area?

Frear: Yes, this job will be in Manhattan and I am really excited. My dad’s been in corporate finance forever and it’s been my dinner table conversation as long as I can remember and yes, it’s closer to home. When I was 14, I started doing some internships for him with stocks and bonds and I know how one company was doing relative to another relative to the overall market and it wasn’t boring me. I’ve decided that’s somewhere to dip my toe into the water and see if I can get it in that.

Question: Were you looking for a company with a competitive environment like the UVa rowing team?

Frear: I’ve learned in my eight years of competitive rowing that I need a competitive outlet. There are some people that are highly competitive and some that aren’t. I think that the majority of the girls on our team are highly competitive. I know that I probably wouldn’t be as satisfied if I didn’t go into a job that was high intensity. As my teammate, Betsy (Nilan) says, “no pressure, no diamonds.” I think that the particular firms I interviewed with are firms that have inter-firm competition and I think that is like what we have here. It’s an environment that I feel I would be happy in and would flourish in as a professional.

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