Summer Q&A: Eiffert at Pair Qualification for U23 Worlds
Jessica Eiffert

June 23, 2014

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Rising senior Jessica Eiffert will lead the University of Michigan rowing team in 2014-15 after standout season for the Wolverines in the 1V8 boat. Eiffert is a two-time Pocock All-American, earning first team honors this season. An All-Big Ten second team selection, Eiffert was tabbed by USRowing for its Under 23 National Team Selection Camp in Berkeley, Calif., which began on June 8. She earned a spot on USRowing's U23 pair and a trip to Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J., for pair qualification for the World Rowing Under 23 Championships, which began today (Monday, June 23) and will run to Wednesday (June 25).

Eiffert took some time to answer questions from before racing this week.

Q) You've had some time to reflect on the season at Michigan. Talk about the NCAA's; the exciting A/B semifinal to get to the 1V8 grand final, and your thoughts on the end of the year in general.

Jessica Eiffert) Finishing fifth place at NCAA's this year was a really great accomplishment for our boat. Obviously we were disappointed that we missed the medal stand, but we were excited to have been in that very competitive grand final - especially after our incredibly exciting semi-final race! I think we really grew as a boat this spring season, and it was nice to finally put it all on the line together.

Q) You were selected for pair qualification by USRowing at the U23 World Trials. When did you know you'd be rowing in the pairs, and what was your reaction?

JE) We have been rowing in small boats since the first day of camp on June 8th. The coaches wanted to see us race each other from the beginning. The plan was to have the selected pair go to trials in Princeton and also double into the eight which will have an automatic bid at the World Championships in Italy. On the last day of selection for the pair, we did two pieces and then came into the dock and made switches and went back out for another piece. My partner and I were able to hold a large enough margin that the coaches decided we would be the pair they would send to trials. Seat racing for a spot in the pair was one the most exciting opportunities I've had. The competition on the water the past week has been amazing. All of us were honestly racing for our lives, so to be selected means so much. My pair partner (Aggie) and I could not be more thrilled.

Q) Talk about your experience rowing pairs. Who will you be rowing with at qualification?

JE) I rowed in pairs for a short time in high school, and Coach Rothstein will have us take them out every once in a while. Small boats are all about savvy, and I think my experience in the 1x (single) throughout high school and college has really put me in a good position to move pairs well. My pair partner Aggie Nowinski recently graduated from California-Berkeley. It is funny because I have actually been rowing with Aggie during the summers since 2007. She is a great friend, and someone who I have developed with as a rower. We even won a silver medal together in the 4- in 2010 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. So really sharing those experiences and having the chemistry we have together really translates onto the water, and I feel we really trust each other.

Q) You've rowed in the USRowing program in the past. How might that experience help you this summer?

JE) I was on the junior national team in 2010 and 2011, and have been part of the development program since 2007. Being surrounded by different coaches, exposed to different atmospheres, competing at different venues, and rowing with a lot of different people has really helped me with the transition to rowing at camp. I also believe my international experience (racing at worlds), and competing at elite level races such as NCAA's has taught me to stay calm and thrive under pressure. I feel as though I am very lucky to have had those experiences, and hopefully many more to come!

Q) When you return to Michigan, you'll be one of four seniors on the team. It will be a younger group next season, but the novice and 2V8 boats showed a lot of promise towards the end of the year. What are your expectations for the group as one of the team leaders?

JE) Yes, I am absolutely thrilled about the freshman class we have coming in. Their enthusiasm and talent will have a big impact on the team, and along with the energy that our now sophomores bring to the table, it is really going to set our 2014-2015 team up for success! Not to mention our talented junior class and the other great leaders in the senior class. I think we have a lot to look forward to, and I'm really excited about next year and what this program can do!!

Contact: Jeffrey Weinstein (734) 763-4423