Welcome to another episode of Meet the Crew! This week, we’re highlighting Hydrow Athlete Sera Moon Busse.
You were a nationally-ranked junior rock climber before you began rowing. How did you make the transition to rowing?
I decided to walk on to the Tufts crew team during my sophomore year because I missed the dynamic of being on a team. I immediately loved the physicality and difficulty of rowing. I was strong and took to the fitness aspect quickly, while learning the technique was a welcome and fun new challenge. During my first spring racing season, my coach put me in the first varsity boat with seven very competent rowers. Rowing in sync with them helped me learn much more quickly than I would have otherwise been able to.
Throughout my three years on the rowing team at Tufts, I fell more and more in love with the sport. As graduation neared, I realised that I wasn’t ready to give up the sport that I had only recently found, and decided to continue pursuing the highest possible level.
You have had to overcome plenty of challenges and injuries in your athletic career - how do you think these setbacks have made you a better athlete?
I’ve wanted to quit several times over the past two years. It’s frustrating to feel young and strong but to have a body that just doesn’t work for you. Suffering from a long-term back injury (herniated disc at L5-S1), I tried everything to get it to heal. I went to PT several times a week, tried chiropractic practices and acupuncture, took time off from rowing, diligently performed countless strengthening exercises, and considered virtually everything other than surgery.
I adopted this mentality that someone eventually would have an answer for me. But after two years of pain, with no answers or results, I realised that no expert would be able to fix my pain. I kind of accepted that I would have to live in chronic pain if I wanted to achieve my competitive goals. Interestingly, adopting this mindset actually helped me cope with the physical pain. Unfortunately, right after that, I was hit by a car while riding my bike and sustained quite a few injuries that kept me off the water for another eight weeks.
Now that I’ve been cleared to train, I feel rejuvenated and more excited than I have in a long time. I feel refreshed, and I am looking at the next few months with a clean slate and a healthy body. I get to rebuild muscle the right way and practice good neuromuscular patterns. For the first time in my entire life, I can truly appreciate what it means to have a body that works the way I need it to.
Injuries give us a chance to re-evaluate why we do the things that we do. They test us with questions like “is this really worth it?” And by the time we’re healed, we know the answer. I’ve spent time doing and learning things that I might not have been able to if I were training, and now I can get down to business without a second thought.
What does a day in the life of Sera Moon look like?
My days vary a lot depending on my filming and training schedule.
Every day, I like to wake up with a bottle of sparkling water and a cup of coffee. It kick-starts my day nicely. If I film in the morning, I’m out the door by 4:45 a.m. Usually, we wrap up on the water at around 8:00 a.m. and I hang out at the boathouse while refuelling with a power smoothie (and more caffeine!). After I finish my daily smoothie, I will get back out on the water for a longer training session, then head to the office for some midday meetings. After lunch, it’s back to the boathouse for more on-water and weight-room trainings. I usually finish up my training in the early evening and then get to go home and cook dinner. This is definitely my favourite part of the day… I love to cook. As I make dinner, I also brainstorm my next Hydrow workout plan. My boyfriend and I allot ourselves just one episode of our current Netflix fixation per night (it’s currently Dexter). Bedtime is no later than 9:30 p.m. to begin another early morning the next day!
What is your proudest rowing moment?
My proudest rowing moment is simultaneously one of my most disappointing. This year at the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR), I came in first in the Women’s Club Single race by twelve seconds (my time was a course record, although sadly, it won’t be counted as such). I was thrilled -- I had trained so hard and it was an incredibly exciting moment for me. Soon after, I learned that I was facing penalties that would add 25 seconds to my time, which would drop me down to fourth place. Penalties are for missed buoys or collisions, and while passing another competitor in the race, I missed some buoys and had seconds added to my time.
I was definitely disappointed, but I know that’s part of being an athlete at this level; learning to accept disappointments with grace and take setbacks in stride, while gearing up for the next opportunity to race. I won’t let this slow me down. Rowing is as much about the losses as it is about the wins. To be successful, you have to learn from both. Following my accident this summer, HOCR was the first chance I had to test myself. Coming away from this, I am more excited than ever for the upcoming year of training. I am healthy, I am strong, and medal or not, I know what I am capable of.
What is your go-to pump up song?
“Young and Menace” by Fall Out Boy
What would you like to learn about our Hydrow Athletes? Tweet your questions at @Hydrow_by_CREW using #AskTeamHydrow.