From Triathlons to Rowing at Stanford: YoungTri Featured Athlete Andrew Gyenis (Part 2)

While east-coasters are enduring sub-zero temperatures, not all of us have been dealing with adjusting our outdoor training schedules to frigid temperatures. YoungTri member Andrew Gyenis has been enjoying his freshman year and training at sunny Stanford. We checked back in with him to hear about his winter training and summer plans – and how being a rower compares to being a triathlete.

For Part 1 of our interview with Andrew, go [here]

How has the winter season been going? What type of training have you been focusing on?

The winter training season has been going great so far, now I’m just dying to race! Our racing season starts the first weekend in March and will continue until the beginning of June. Right now my training is consisting of a lot more time rowing on the water than in the fall (especially in fours), but I am also getting in a decent volume of erg workouts, weight training, and swimming. It’s all about finding that ideal balance of aerobic fitness, power, and technique right now.


Did you attend any winter training camps with your team? What was the experience like? How did it compare to any triathlon camps etc. you have attended?

The rowing team came back to Palo Alto five days before class started to do a short training camp that consisted of rowing on the water twice a day and an erg session once a day. For the almost three weeks prior to that, I stayed at home with my family in the DC-area. I was able to reconnect with my old swim coach (John Flanagan of NCAP), and I did some brutal practices with his training group almost every day I was at home. His 10,000 yard practices combined with some runs and strength training got me in very good shape heading into January. I stayed off the erg and didn’t row for almost the whole months of November and December while I recovered from two dislocated ribs and a strained lat muscle that I injured while doing an erg workout in November. Everything is all good now and I have been injury free since.

How do you think being a triathlete has helped you in the rowing world?

Definitely my biggest advantage in the rowing world has been my aerobic capacity. On the erg I can sustain a higher stroke rate and heart rate than a lot of the other guys, but I am still working on my power and technique. One of my coach’s favorite quotes is “fitness plus length equals speed”, and I appreciate how he encourages cross training during the week to stay at peak fitness. In terms of working on generating more power, I have completely changed my weight training program to include exercises with reps of 8-10 versus reps of 16-20 like I was doing for triathlon training. I have gained about 10 pounds since the beginning of the year, and although it may not be ideal for fast running, I feel like I am getting more leverage and moving the boat more per stroke now than when I started rowing.

Do you plan to compete in any triathlons this summer? Or just focus on rowing?

I am still trying to get together my plans for this summer. I know for a fact that it will not include competitive triathlon training though, maybe just one or two for “fun”. Either I will stay out here in the Bay Area and focus on rowing and competing at summer races, or I will go home for the summer and focus on swimming with my club coach and do some open water and long course racing. Regardless, I want to have a part-time job as well, so that may influence my decision on where I spend my summer. I am really interested in global warming/climate change research and policy, and I am looking into doing research this summer.

What is your favorite part of being a student athlete at Stanford?

My favorite parts about being a student athlete at Stanford are the combination of the ideal training climate and facilities we have. Nothing beats rowing on the San Francisco Bay on a clear morning, and every time it reminds me of how fortunate I am to have this opportunity to be here. The coaches, the weight room, the boat house, the rowing equipment, and the gear are all top notch, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Plus, we get to row outdoors 365 days a year (unlike some of those Ivy League Schools haha).