Senior Patrick Hsu takes great pride in his innate rowing capabilities, which he has been working to perfect since he joined the Palo Alto Rowing Club after starting his second semester of sophomore year. He modestly shrugs off compliments of his skill with a smile and believes his greatest achievement is his strength attained through hard work.
“I’m buffer,” Patrick said. “My overall well-being is fantastic.”
He practices five times a week, waking up at sometimes as early as 4:30 a.m. to work out with his Palo Alto Rowing Club team members at the Port of Redwood City.
What sets rowing above other sports in his mind can be the repetitive motions and the strive to perfect them. For rowers, it’s all about rhythm, not frantic slashing paddles.
“I like it because it’s methodical,” Patrick said. “It’s the same action over and over again I guess, but you just perfect the stroke. You just get… strong.”
His team members emphasize this strength in their extreme workout regimen, designed to make use of the hours before school. They practice what they race: 2,000 meters.
“I guess the thing about rowing is you develop really strong and enduring muscles,” Patrick said. “We race like 2,000 meters, which is essentially like a really long sprint.”
One of his most memorable accomplishments was when he beat his entire team, the Palo Alto Rowing Club, in a fundraiser event. That day he rowed 14,440 meters in an hour, winning handily. This nonprofit event helped him build and prepare for future races. Patrick now has the endurance and experience that will help him.
“I pulled…for the last minute with intensity and a ferocity I had never experienced before, and when I was done I had stumbled off the erg dancing,” Patrick said.
Patrick’s influence and leadership over his teammates were clearly present the day he took them to victory, going from rather far from first to a victory in seconds. He attributes his success to a Lil’ Wayne song, in which the rapper screeches “I”m ill!” in an apparently motivational tone. The song served quite its purpose during the race, when Patrick chorused it in a voice that could be heard on the shore. His team put its whole heart in the race and accomplished a superb burst of speed.
“We pretty much went from like 0 miles per hour to 1,000 miles per hour in an instant,” Patrick said.
Patrick hopes to continue rowing at a collegiate level, if possible.