Updated: Aug 18, 2020
In an effort to highlight the incredible work of the team at the George Pocock Rowing Foundation, we've been interviewing our staff, starting with the GPRF’s Director of Rowing Operations, Padraic McGovern.
Padraic leads the programs at Pocock Rowing Center and Renton Rowing Center, making sure the communities are “safe, sustainable and diverse” to fit the needs of those who practice there.
In our most recent blog post we sit down with Padraic and discuss his favorite memories, how COVID-19 has impacted his work, and what inspires him.
How long have you been part of the GPRF?
I've been on the GPRF staff since April, 2018.
How does your position impact the GPRF?
My position impacts the GPRF in a number of ways. Primarily, I lead our efforts in getting kids on the water at the Pocock Rowing Center and Renton Rowing Center. I also ensure those boathouse communities are safe, sustainable and our programs meet the diverse needs of our community of athletes. I work with other clubs to benefit the rowing community at large and push boundaries in the sport.
What is your favourite memory of rowing?
I'm pretty lucky on this. I've got way too many to ever pick a favorite! I've been involved at many levels of the sport as an athlete, coach and now as an administrator. My favorite memories are those that encompass "eureka" strokes, phenomenal people, personal growth, "nature moments", outrageously funny interactions during down-time and the satisfaction from accomplishment. Many of those elements are usually present together. At this point in my career, I'm proud to put others in a position to experience those great memories. Who inspires you the most in the sport?
Evan Jacobs and Tyler Peterson: I rowed with these guys for years at LWRC. They each bring different strengths to the sport. They've inspired me to be more consistent, patient, strategic, tough and clutch. This question makes me miss those years of training a lot.
Matt Lacey, who hired me as an assistant coach at Everett many years ago, was inspirational in my coaching career. His belief in the power of youth athletics introduced me to a role in the sport I'd never considered. Those experiences over nearly 20 years, have been deeply meaningful in my life, and many others.
I'd have to say my wife, Rachel McGovern. We met in college and rowed together for many years. This may sound funny, but when we first met, she inspired me to be a better student. Reaching my academic potential was a big thing for me back then. She's been a teacher for 20 years; her work and approach has deeply inspired my own work as youth rowing coach. I've also been inspired by her tenacity, courage, work ethic and good nature.
How has your rowing experience changed during COVID-19?
A lot more sleepless nights. I'm working simultaneously very intensely in multiple spaces and disciplines. Some days, I feel like I'm at the 1280 meter mark on a 2,000 meter race. I've lost track of time and space; I'm focused deeply on each individual stroke. I know we are making progress, but I'm not in a place to really see it. I'll appreciate what I'm doing right now long after the race has been completed. That said, I am very fortunate to get glimpses of what we've been able to do when I see our athletes on the water, safely in singles. One thing that hasn't changed at all, though, is the great spirit of the teams I'm part of. Our athletes, coaches, volunteers, boards, committees and my colleagues have all been working together to get our boathouses open. I'm overwhelmed by their work, attitude, ideas, and efforts.
What advice would you give to someone considering rowing for the first time?
Have fun! Improve some every day. Focus on the positive. See the opportunity in every situation. Oh, and learn to use your hips and hands correctly. That will help accelerate the learning how to row part of it.
Do you have a favourite workout?
I've always liked 3 or 4 times 10 minutes (4,3,2,1). The steps really work for me. I like going faster throughout the pieces. I think I'll get out on the water on Monday and have a go at it.