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.

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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).

YoungTri Featured Athlete: Drew Sanclemente

Drew Sanclemente is not your typical triathlete. Besides having raced in 70 multisport events, she’s also Miss District of Columbia High School America 2013! Read on to find out more about this young triathlon star.

Name: Drew Sanclemente

Age: 16

Hometown: Middletown, Delaware

Years involved in Triathlon: 7

Other hobbies: Photography, Surfing, Writing, Guitar, Skiing, Cooking, Acting

Teams raced for: Team Bricks Multisport and T3 Multisports High Performance Team and

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What do you like most about triathlons? 

Everything. Is that an answer? I really love the fact that triathlons are three events not just one. I feel it makes it more challenging and interesting.

Tell us about a favorite recent race! 

I can’t really think of a specific recent race, but I do have a few tris that really stand out to me. The Dragonfly Triathlon which raised money to send children with heart or lung transplants to camp. I remember crossing with the finish line with Sarah the recipient of a heart. That day was an amazing experience with her.

Do you plan to compete in triathlons in college or beyond?

I would love to compete in triathlons in college. I really want to do ironman distance races when I’m older. I’ve always dreamed of going pro. Maybe one day!

Quick-Fire

Weirdest thing to happen to you during a race: 

Hmm a lot of things triathletes do during races are weird to outsiders, but I feel like to us they are normal. Triathletes are just weird in general, so I don’t really know. One thing I did during a race was use a toddler’s booster seat strap as a race belt. I would say that could be seen as weird for even a triathlete.

Favorite pre/post race snack:

I don’t really have anything specific the morning of the race, but the night before I do the traditional spaghetti meal. I always have a coke for some reason. Tradition I guess. For travel races I have to go to Olive Garden. It’s just something I have to do. After a race I really like a coke and something chocolaty. Pizza is also nice.

Training buddy or solo?

Right now I train solo except for when I’m at school practices. Coordinating times is really hard. My training times are usually sporadic. I will set a workout for a day, but the time is just up to how I am feeling and/or what I’m doing that day.

Another time management issue. On top of school and the work and teams that come with it, I’m also the reigning Miss District of Columbia High School America 2013. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but it is a huge time consuming position. I spend a large majority of my time out in the community in the crown and sash trying my hardest to make a difference. Sometimes I have to miss practice or just put off work because I have important things that pop up that I can’t miss. Time management is really a huge issue for all of us young triathletes!DSC_0095602913_10151389415447419_1290690129_n

YOUNGTRI ATHLETE FEATURE: ANDREW GYENIS (PART 1: A TYPICAL TRAINING WEEK)

  • Name: Andrew Gyenis
  • Age: 18
  • Hometown: Reston, Virginia
  • Years involved in triathlon: 4
  • School: Stanford University
  • Other hobbies: Open water swimming, fishing, cooking, hiking

Think it’s impossible to balance being a d1 athlete, being a student at one of the nation’s best universities and triathlon training? Think again. Andrew Gyenis from Reston, VA does just that. In this first installment in the “YoungTri Athlete Feature” series, learn about what a typical week is like for him and how he got involved in triathlons.

Andrew is currently on the Stanford men’s crew team. Learn a bit about his schedule in this article, and stay tuned for Andrew’s commentary on balancing rowing and triathlon and their similarities and differences in the next part of the feature!

A bit about Andrew’s background and introduction to the sport:

“I grew up as a distance swimmer and loved the challenges and hard work involved with distance training. When I got to high school, it is recommended that we do a sport in the fall since it is a great way to meet new guys and it is a pretty small school (about 100 guys a class). The obvious choice for me was cross country, especially since I had a couple weeks off from swimming towards the end of August. I found that I had some talent in distance running and found success pretty soon as a freshmen. I had heard that the biking was the easiest discipline of a triathlon to pick up, so that summer I borrowed a friend’s bike that was way too small for me and signed up for a sprint triathlon. From then on I was hooked. My mom always told me before a race “If nothing else, have a great open water swim”. There weren’t many open water race opportunities in my area for a 14 year old, so for a while my mentality was that I was getting in an open water race which just happened to have a fast bike and run afterwards.”

Typical training week this fall:
-Monday: Meet at 6 am to go over to the boat house for an hour row, easy 45 minute swim at 10 am, erg session with the team at 3 pm (roughly 1.5 hours)
-Tuesday: 45 minute swim at 10 am, 45 minute erg session at 4 pm, 1 hour of strength training in the weight room at 5 pm
-Wednesday: Hour row meeting at 6 am, 45 minute swim at 10 am, erg session at 3 pm
-Thursday: 45 minute erg session at 4 pm, hour of strength training at 5 pm, 45 minute easy swim at 6:15 pm
-Friday: same as Monday and Wednesday
-Saturday: Longer row starting at 8 am, hour swim at 1 pm, 30 minute run at 4 pm
-Sunday: Hour swim at 12 pm, 45 minute run at 4 pm