Hartman heads to worlds

Granite Bay High School Senior Elsa Hartman shares her experience at the World Rowing Junior Championship after placing first.

With a pounding heart and a wobbling boat, Senior Elsa Hartman was doubtful of a win as she and her team raced for the USA rowing competition in Bulgaria.

After being a rower of Capital Crew for nearly five years, Hartman was given the opportunity to row at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Hartman spent nearly two months in Chula Vista, California prior to being picked for a boat.

“I usually practice six days a week with three hour long practices. (Over the summer) we would do doubles everyday, so (we practiced) around five hours a day,” said Hartman.

For Hartman, she was unable to see her parents throughout the entire summer, she lived independently alongside teammates and coaches.

“Our camp was at an Olympic training center with dorms and dining halls,” said Hartman.

But, her hardwork paid off in no time. After finding out she had made the USA junior  rowing team, she continued to practice until it was her time to leave for Bulgaria with the rest of her team.

“There were some obstacles with COVID testing because we had to get a test before we left, I ended up having a false positive,” Hartman said. “Everyone was freaking out, but we luckily got that under control.”

With all the strict protocols around the competition, Hartman and her team were almost unable to race due to contact tracing. But, luckily the stress subsided and the competition was able to handle protocols in a professional manner.

“We could only go to the race course and our hotel, but it was fine because we would have done that anyways since we had such little time,” Hartman said. “It was hard because our parents came, but you couldn’t visit them because of protocols.”

Even though parents were free of symptoms or had negative tests, the protocols were extremely strict about only being with individuals from the boat in order to be able to race.

Luckily, Hartman and her teammates abided and headed for gold.

“We had somewhat of a rough start. The boat was wobbling…we got to a point where we were midway through and then realized we had a decent lead which was really exciting. We kept this up and I was like ‘no, this isn’t happening!’,” Hartman said.

For a long time, Hartman was solely focused on making the team.

I wasn’t really expecting that… being able to actually race was surreal

— Elsa Hartman

“I wasn’t really expecting that… being able to actually race was surreal,” Hartman said.

As she and her teammates crossed the finish line, Hartman was elated as the crowd repeatedly cheered for team USA.

“I got up on the podium and was about to faint, I couldn’t even stand up on my own. Our team doctor came and helped so we could get up and get our medals. We held the American flag and the national anthem played, it was a really fulfilling experience,” Hartman said.

Hartman plans to continue her rowing career in 2022 at the University of Virginia where she plans to pursue her sport at a national level.

“It’s such a tough sport, getting to accomplish the goal that you’ve been working towards for so long, it’s just such a cool experience,” Hartman said.