Warren Anderson, a Loyola Marymount University (LMU) graduate with a biology major, earned a bronze medal along with three teammates in the quadruple sculls rowing competition at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro last month.
Sculling is a form of rowing in which each rower uses two oars instead of one.
“It’s a surreal experience when you realize how far you’ve come, how much you’ve pushed yourself, and that all your hard work wasn’t for nothing,” said Anderson after he received the bronze medal in front of 100,000 people in Rio. “You feel a certain pride for your country and for doing your best.”
The biggest challenge of the event was dealing with the weather, he said. The beaches of Rio de Janeiro are susceptible to drastic changes in conditions, and calm waters can become unworkable within minutes, he added.
“The waves were so rough, which turned the competition into a completely different game,” Anderson said. “Rowing is usually an artful sport, but this event proved to be about broad, brute strength and luck, although all the teams rowed under the same conditions.”
Anderson and his teammates prepared for the competition through a two-month intensive training program. They worked out twice a day for six days a week, using advanced technological aids that measured the energy produced in each stroke and analyzed how well in-sync the team stroked their oars.
“We were hoping for the gold [medal] but it’s an honor to receive [the bronze medal],” Anderson said. “I am going to keep the medal in a stash at my home and will look back at it when I am done with the sport.”
Anderson will have a lot of medals to reflect on when he eventually retires.
In June of this year, he took first place in the men’s quad sculls and placed second in the men’s single at the 2007 Elite National Championships in New Jersey.
He also finished fourth in the double sculls at the 2007 National Selection Regatta #2 in New Jersey.
Currently, Anderson is in training for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“Rowing makes you powerful, self-assured, and gives you a lot of self-confidence,” Anderson said. “It taught me that by pushing myself to new limits, I can do whatever I want in life.”