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Meet the Crew: Grace

Feb 10, 2020

Welcome back to Meet the Crew. We’re catching up with Hydrow Athlete, Grace Luczak. You’ve likely noticed that Grace has been MIA from your Hydrow screen these last few months — and with good reason — she’s been hard at work training for the 2020 Olympics. Grace took a few moments in between sessions to catch up with us and share some updates on how she’s doing on her road to Tokyo.  

What are you up to these days, Grace?
I am currently in San Diego, California training two or three times a day at the Olympic Training Center (OTC). I definitely miss the team in Miami, but I am making friends with other Athletes here at the OTC, along with some of the cutest puppies and bunnies that I have ever seen! It is really cool being here with such inspiring athletes, including Lex Gillete, a blind Paralympic long jumper. It’s quite a humbling experience being in the presence of such greatness. 

I will be here in San Diego until March, at which point I’ll head back east to Princeton, New Jersey, where my team will continue to train ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Grace in the Olympic Training Center weight room

How did you get into rowing, and what have been some of your favorite moments on the water?
I started rowing alongside my sister. It’s crazy because my mom saw an ad in the newspaper, which was recruiting girls to join a local rowing team. It said: “1. Do you have tall daughters? 2. Do you want them to go to college for free? 3. Try rowing!” And the rest is history! 

Being able to row alongside my sister — to train with her, to be in the same boat as her, and to compete together at nationals in high school, was truly an incredible experience. I don’t think I took full advantage of it at the time, but I realize now that we are living across the country from each other how special that time together was. 

In my professional rowing career, I think that I am most proud of my performance at the World Cup race in Lucerne Switzerland ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics. When I was there racing in the women’s pair boat for team USA, my partner and I set the world record and qualified ourselves for a spot on the 2016 USA Olympic team. That feeling was electric — it is amazing knowing that all of the work that we had put into training and preparing for the Olympics had finally come to fruition. Being able to represent the United States at the Olympic Games was one of the greatest honors of my life. 

Through all of this, I learned that goals don’t get accomplished in a vacuum. You MUST have a team behind you for support. When you are training for the Olympics, it isn’t just you doing the work, you have a whole team pushing you, supporting you, and counting on you to be the best that you can be. 

Grace with President Obama at the White House following the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio

Let’s talk about your training style. What can people expect from your workouts?
I like to make sure that my workouts are challenging enough that you feel like you’re getting results, but fun enough that you forget that you’re working out. 

Rowing has this incredible flow and natural beauty — I love being able to share that with people, and be that interruption in their typical day-to-day grind. 

For me, exercising provides a break, an opportunity to reboot and have an energy shift. I worked in New York City after the Olympics for two years, and I remember how important that brief escape was for me, especially when I felt distracted or overwhelmed. It was a chance to sit down, collect my thoughts, and get in a good workout — being focused on something else for a while often means you’ll be sharper when you go back in.

What’s your favorite part about being a Hydrow Athlete?
Everyone’s hysterical… like laugh out loud funny, from the Athletes to our production crew behind the scenes. But, at the same time, it’s a very driven group. We’re all striving to get better and improve, and to make this experience something special for our users.

I also love that we support Water.org. We’re out on the water every single day, rowing around in these picturesque places, and it can be easy to take that for granted. I love that you can help yourself, while helping someone else who really needs it. 

What activities do you enjoy when you’re not on the water?
I love trying new sports. When I was down in Miami last year, I tried rock climbing — I wasn’t great, but I still had fun! I enjoy any activity that requires getting outside and being active. I also absolutely love to dance. 

Outside of physical activity, I love spending time with family and friends whenever I can. I really enjoy spending my spare weekends exploring farmers markets and niche locations.

What would you like to learn about our Hydrow Athletes? Tweet your questions at @Hydrow_by_CREW using #AskTeamHydrow.