Samantha Clifford USRowing Elite Camp Participant

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Samantha Clifford USRowing Elite Camp Participant

Although the 2013-14 season was her first with the Fairfield University rowing team, Samantha Clifford (Bridgewater, Mass.) still managed to accomplish something that no other Stag could claim. The freshman received an invitation from USRowing to join one of its two selected pre-elite training camps which takes place this summer.

The camps will be held in Princeton, N.J. and Syracuse, N.Y. with Clifford heading to upstate New York for her training. The Syracuse camp will be coached by Justin Moore, head coach of the Syracuse University rowing team. Clifford will represent Fairfield University as student-athletes from Brown, Princeton, Syracuse, Harvard, Washington College, Franklin and Marshall, as well as Michigan State will train in Syracuse.

Clifford joined the Stags rowing team despite spending her high school athletic career as a basketball player. Still, the rookie worked hard at her technical skill level, getting better and more efficient every day. She showed her prowess for the sport when she set the school’s existing 2K erg record in late March. Three weeks later, Clifford beat her own record by shaving seven seconds off her previous standard.

On the water, Clifford enjoyed as much success, capping her inaugural season as a member of the Fairfield Varsity 8 which qualified for the petite final at the Dad Vail Regatta, the first time Fairfield has reached such that height since the 2001 varsity eight’s performance.

“I am so excited for Sam to have the opportunity to row amongst such high quality athletes and I know all the athletes at this camp will learn so much from Justin Moore, a coach with a phenomenal track record at Williams College, US Junior National Team and now Syracuse University,” said Stags Director of Rowing Patterson.

The pre-elite camps are set up to advance the cause of talented athletes that are seen as potential future members of perhaps the 2015 training squad from which the U23 World Championship team will be selected. The U23 squad is seen as a proving ground for future members of the USA National Team that competes at World Cup Regattas, World Championships and of course the Olympic Games.

“In just one year, Samantha has achieved so much to at least put herself on the base of the USRowing pyramid. Samantha is also acutely aware that, given the US women's domination of the eights competition at Worlds and Olympic level for the past 8 years, to make any progress up the pyramid will require a phenomenal amount of work and discipline.”

Still, Clifford’s success at the national level will depend on her ability to separate herself from the competition. While she has excelled at Fairfield, she will need to work even harder to gain that separation.

“What sets Sam apart in the context of the Fairfield University Rowing environment is her pure natural physical ability and attributes,” Patterson said. “But at the pre-elite environment, her 6' 1" stature will be, at best, average. Her progress from this point will be based on her competitive drive and passion to make the most out of her physical attributes as she is challenged for more power, better technical ability all with the single motivation to make the boat go faster each and every time she steps in to it."

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