May 24, 2007
UCFAthletics.com continues introducing Knights' fans to the members of the UCF varsity eight that earned the program's first ever bid to the NCAA Championships with junior Erin Riegel. A film production major, Riegel began rowing during her freshman year. She hails from Columbia, Md.
When did you begin rowing? What attracted you to the sport?
My freshman year of college - three years ago. It was 1 a.m. and I watched the U.S. National Team win gold at the Olympics. I thought, "Hey, that could be fun!" I went online emailed the UCF coach, tried out and made the team two weeks later. The rest is history!
Why did you decide to attend UCF?
I was accepted into the film program, which is highly competitive, and decided it was a good fit for me...I also wanted to get out of Maryland.
What is your favorite aspect of being a member of the UCF rowing team?
The fact that it is really a family. We all are there for each other and can offer support.
What is the biggest misconception that non-rowers have regarding the sport?
That it is easy. I thought that soccer was the hardest sport, then I found rowing. You work so hard. You have to have technique and skill to go along with power or the boat won't go anywhere.
What is your most memorable highlight from the year?
Making it onto the varsity eight and winning at Virginia. Everyone is so fast and it was an honor to be a part of it, helping us go out and grabbing a win my first time out in the boat.
How would you describe the American/Canadian dynamic in the boat?
We joke about it a lot, but at the end of the day, we are all a part of a whole. We work together to represent UCF.
What are you most looking forward to about the NCAA Championship?
Just being there. This time last year, I was a lightweight at the IRA National Championships. I never in a million years imagined that I would be in the NCAA's. It's amazing.
If the members of the varsity eight competed on Survivor, who would win and why?
Caitlin Pauls. She is obsessed with winning and always has to be first in everything. She's fast. She's strong. She'd kick everyone's butt.
What are your hobbies off the water?
Film making is a major part of my life. I am constantly trying to balance the two. East, sleep, row, get to set!
What are your plans for the upcoming summer?
I am doing some freelance film editing in June before heading out to Utah for two months to work as art director on an independent feature film. I will also be starting on pre-production for my thesis film. The fun never stops!
Continue to check throughout the week for more conversations with the varsity eight. The 2007 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships take place from Friday, May 25 through Sunday, May 27 in Oak Ridge, Tenn.