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Posted: 6/05/2013 11:08:16 PM;  Modified: 6/05/2013 11:15:35 PM
Lake Natoma - CA - My name is Matt Albretsen. I am 29 years old and I am a novice rower on the Sacramento State Men’s Rowing team. Rowing for me started on random day at school when a recruiter approached me and asked if I would be interested in coming out to check out the sport. I believe I was recruited simply for the fact that I am tall--6’4’’. At the time I knew absolutely nothing about the sport of rowing other than the fact that boats and racing were somehow involved. I can still remember my first time out on the water; it was freezing cold outside; it ended up raining that morning; and I was rowing port side in the 2nd seat of a sweeping 8. The thing that I remember most was how unstable the boat felt in the water. I remember feeling like we were always on the brink of tipping over. Little did I know that the 8s are just about as stable as it gets.
Speaking of stability--Fast forward just 5 short months later: I find myself in the seat of a “single” and I’m on the starting line to race in the Master Gold Rush competition. This race is only 1000 meters which means it’s basically a controlled sprint throughout the piece. They say that this is why this race is called the Gold Rush-- everyone’s in a rush to win the gold. At this point in my extremely novice career, I only had about 5 weeks of practice in a single. My first week of practice was pretty ugly: i flipped the boat my first two times in a single. For those of you who don’t know, a “single” is a 1-person boat which means its the easiest to flip and therefore requires the greatest efforts for control. They say “there’s no hiding in a single” because every mistake you make is obvious, and there’s no one else to blame but yourself.
I did very well at the Gold Rush race and I am pleased to have placed 3rd. The guy who took first place is a world class rower and very good friend of the Sac State Men’s rowing club. I knew from the outset that he would take first place and so I was fighting to take 2nd. The guy who placed 2nd was also very good, but he finished only 10 seconds ahead of me. I feel like I could have beat him if I did not get off to such a rough start. I did not find my groove until after the first 500 meters and in the Gold Rush, that’s half the race. I’m still very new to this sport so I haven’t quite figured out how to calm my nerves down at the starting line. It’s a very intense feeling; waiting to hear the signal to begin the race. So much adrenaline: I love it.
My teammate Zack Sorrensen took 4th place which means that Sacramento State had a strong showing at this event. Next year I’m not going to lose my cool at the starting line; next year I plan on being a beast in the boat and throwing massive puddles with each stroke. Rowing is a difficult sport and it requires a lot of patience and concentrated hard work. Our team motto is: “Join. Row. Win.” I intend to be one of the driving forces behind this teams successes, to ensure that all 3 aspects of this motto are met--especially the last.

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