November 05, 2012

Talent OKC: Shara Stafford

Stafford with Rower Jen Forbes

With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games less than 4 years away, an exciting opportunity is available for men and women to explore a new sport at the elite level. The Oklahoma City National High Performance Center has developed the Talent OKC: Olympic Athlete Identification Program with a mission to select and recruit potential medal winning athletes, and to ensure clearly defined development pathways exist for the transfer of talented athletes to the sport of rowing.

Former University of Missouri swimmer, Shara Stafford, traveled to OKC this past weekend to participate in the Talent OKC program. Stafford competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Trials for swimming. She was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2012, becoming just the second Mizzou student-athlete to earn a Big 12 postseason swimming and diving award. Stafford, a transfer from the University of Florida, earned three first team All-America honors at the 2012 NCAA Championships, where she finished fifth in the 50 free, sixth in the 100 free and was part of Mizzou's seventh-place 200 free relay team. She also claimed 100 and 200 free titles at 2012 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships.

Stafford was invited to OKC for four days for the second stage of the program - Talent Confirmation. This stage consisted of rowing instruction on the Concept 2 ergometer, indoor rowing tank, and on the water. She also competed standardized tests used to identify potential rowing talent, including several flexibility and stability tests, and anthropological measurements. Most importantly, her strength was tested using the Concept 2 Dyno. The exercises which measure arm press, leg press, and arm pull produce an overall picture of the general body strength.

Take a look at the videos showing Shara's progress after only three days on the water:

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