October 27, 2010

A Rising Star: Peszek Finds Success Through OKC Training Center

A year ago, he was erging on his own. Today, he’s sitting stroke in the men’s eight, set to represent the USA at the World Rowing Championships next week in New Zealand. Looking back, Tom Peszek says he thinks he could have set the bar higher when he started training at the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center (OKCNHPC) at the beginning of the year.

“When I started training in OKC my personal goals were initially to just break six minutes on the erg and get decent at rowing a single. I’ve accomplished both of those, and I’m thinking that I should have set my goals much higher,” he said.

Going to the Next Level
A member of the Under 23 national team in 2007, Peszek saw a posting on Row2k and applied for residency in Oklahoma City as a way to get back into the national team system.

“I raced in the eight at the U23 World Championships back in 2007. But the senior level of competition is a different animal altogether,” said Peszek. “All of the crews at this level are too experienced and too good to ever give up and just let you beat them – you have to earn every single inch against every single crew.”

Peszek had his first taste of senior level rowing this summer when he and his Oklahoma City teammates Justin Stangel, Ross James, and Grant James traveled to Lucerne, Switzerland, to row the men’s four at the World Cup III.

“To me, things first started to click when Justin Stangel and I had several rows together in the pair, with OKCNHPC Director and Head Coach John Parker working with us. John kept challenging us and making us prove that we were good enough to compete at the first USRowing National Selection Regatta, and Justin and I started to realize that we really could be competitive at the level.”

New Zealand Bound
Although the selection process occurred gradually enough that being named to the men’s eight was not immediately surprising, Peszek says he’d never have believed he would be in this position months ago.

“If you had told me back in February or March that this is where I would be, I would never have believed it. I am beyond excited to have the chance to row with seven of the very best rowers in the country sitting right behind me.

To be part of Team USA is an incredible honor and unlike anything I’ve experienced as an athlete. Not only that, but we’ve been preparing for competition with the best coaching possible, and training side-by-side with the best rowers in the country has been exciting each and every day. It’s an incredible experience.”

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