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Meet the Crew: Christine

Oct 11, 2019

Welcome back to another installment of Meet the Crew. This week, we’re catching up with Hydrow Athlete Christine Cavallo. A three-time world record setter with six World Championships under her belt, Christine is a seriously formidable competitor — and she’s just getting started.

How did you get into rowing?
As a kid, I was predominantly a soccer player, and cross-trained by running track and cross country. I had big dreams of playing collegiate soccer, but all of that changed when I tore a ligament in my knee in the seventh grade. My doctor made it pretty clear; the choice was either an extreme surgery or switch to a non-impact sport without lateral movement. That left me with rowing and swimming as my two options. I have asthma and felt that staying above water was definitely in my best interest, so I turned to rowing. I went to a row camp the summer before my freshman year of high school, and the rest is history!

Proudest rowing moment?
I have thought long and hard about this question — I’ve had so many amazing opportunities and experiences, for which I am so grateful. I’ve been on many teams and rowed in countless races, so I have a long list of things to be proud of as a result. But… as for my proudest moment? I am pretty sure it is still to come. 🙂

You recently competed at the World Championships in Austria. What comes next for you?
This past summer was my 6th time racing at the World Championships, and it’s definitely still a surreal experience each time.

The top 7 boats at the 2019 World Championships lock up a spot for their country in the 2020 Tokyo games. After that, there are a few spots allocated to regional qualifiers around the world, and two final spots awarded at what is known as “The Last Chance Regatta.” We placed 10th this year so it puts us on track for that final regatta in May of 2020. First step is to re-earn the spot within the USA this winter, and then it’s off to the international circuit!

What is it like rowing in the World Championships?
It is equal parts terrifying and exciting. I will say that there is definitely a bit of a shock when you hear yourself on the starting line as “Team USA” for the first time and knowing your competitors aren’t local boat clubs — they are other countries, and they’re the best athletes in the world. I went through that shock for the first time as a 17-year-old, which was crazy.

It’s such an honor to be able to row at such a high level — sometimes I lose sight of what an incredible accomplishment it is to have made it to where I am. A big part of training to be an elite athlete is learning how to stay grounded and hold your bearings. I often tell myself “don’t let the highs get too high or the lows get too low” as I continue on with my training efforts.

Besides rowing, what is your favorite way to workout?
I started cycling last year and totally fell in love with it. James [Dietz, fellow Hydrow Athlete] and I randomly tagged along on a century ride (100 miles) with our producer Chris, and it was awesome. Before that, the farthest that I had ever ridden was 21 miles… I have a newfound passion for cycling!

Beyond new athletic discoveries, I truly get so much happiness out of lifting weights and getting stronger. Since working with our strength trainer, Peter Donohoe, I have learned how to activate muscles that I didn’t even know I had!

Who are your sports heroes?
When I was younger, my soccer idols were Mia Hamm and Pele. I am always in awe of Lebron James and his ability to dominate so consistently as an athlete.

And even though it’s rough around the edges, I love listening to David Goggins explain his life philosophy as a Navy SEAL and getting into endurance running. I’m drawn to people who have learned how to loosen a few screws and unlocked more of their human potential.

What’s on your pre-race pump-up playlist?
“Magic in the Hamptons” by Lil Yachty, “the Potion” by Ludacris and “It’s Goin Down” by Nitty and Young Joc.