Q & A Session with new Washington State Men's Crew novice coach Julia Gamache
July 11, 2008
Julia Gamache joins the Cougar men for her first year as the novice coach after she spent the 2007-2008 year as an assistant coach for the University of Miami womenís crew. At Miami, Julia was responsible for coaching the womenís 2nd varsity 8+, as well as assisting with coaching novice rowers. Julia was also the Miami boathouse manager, whose responsibilities included repairing and maintaining equipment and general upkeep of the boathouse.
Prior to her time at Miami, Julia was an intern coach at the University of Washington and worked closely with both the menís and womenís teams and assisted in coaching the womenís 3rd and 4th varsity 8+ís and the 2nd varsity 4+. Before her stint at Washington, Julia was an assistant masterís coach at the Conibear Rowing Club in Seattle, and was an assistant masterís coach and womenís novice coach at the Everett Rowing Association in Everett, WA, before that. Julia also gained experience as a volunteer coach for the Canadian National Adaptive Rowing Team as she worked with the adaptive 4+ in Miami as they trained for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
A native of Seattle, WA, Julia earned a degree in Health and Sport Science at Western Washington University in 2006. While at WWU, Julia was named a first-team All-American by the Division-II NCAA Coaches Association on three different occasions and led the Vikings to back-to-back NCAA Division-II National Championships in 2005 and 2006. Julia served as the team captain from 2004-2006 and was named the Western Washington Athlete-of-the-Year for the 2005-2006 season.
Julia was kind enough to spend a few minutes answering some questions to let us get to know a little bit more about her and her thoughts about the upcoming year.
The question that is on everyoneís mind is: What brings you to Pullman, Washington, from the sunny shores of Miami, Florida?
I was born in the Great Northwest, grew up in Seattle and went to college at Western Washington University. Pullman may not have dolphins or sandy beaches but it does have the things that make the West Coast the best coast.
What is it that you notice specifically about rowers from the Pacific Northwest that you donít tend to see in other parts of the country?
It takes a different kind of athlete to row in the Northwest: The weather is unpredictable, usually freezing and windy. Dedication to this sport is greatly increased when such obstacles are thrown into the mix, and, in my opinion, this helps result in a higher caliber of athlete.
Gamache at the 2005 NCAA Championships
Youíve had a lot of coaching experience over the past several years. What experience would you say has had the most influence on you as a coach now?
Coaching at a variety of places and for a variety of skill levels has been the most beneficial experience for me as a coach. I have learned that coaching in one limited style will only help a limited number of athletes. The best coaches I have known are able to rephrase one thing a thousand different ways. I look forward to learning many more ways to express my ideas.
Outside of coaching, what do you like to spend your time doing?
I spend a good amount of time riding motorcycles, occasionally I go scuba diving and if there is a cliff or rope swing on a lake, I am all over it. For my laid-back side, I love watching Rocky movies and most of all, singing a good karaoke song now and then.
How different do you think it will be coaching novice men compared to novice women?
There are bound to be great differences between this coming year and years past, not only because the Novices will now be Men but also because of the difference in town size, the kind of person different schools attract and the fitness level of incoming athletes. For every new place there are a number of changes that a coach needs to acknowledge and adapt to.
What are some of your main goals and objectives going into this school year?
My main goal is to guide the Novices towards falling in love with this sport. Building a successful program happens through teammate collaboration, exceptional fitness and of course winning a lot of races. The athletes who love the sport will put in the most effort, become leaders on and off the water and they will find that rowing in college made some of the best years of their life. All rowers who love rowing will contest that they cannot explain why they love it, they just do. My objective is to build more indescribable passion for Cougar Crew.
Overall, what are you looking forward to the most this year?
I am greatly looking forward to developing relationships with all of the athletes; Novices, Varsity and Alum. It will be great to learn more as a coach through such a dedicated group of people. I am also really excited to work with Coach Ericsson. I have had the pleasure to see his coaching first hand and am encouraged by his patience and knowledge.