For Canadian native Heather Mandoli, the 2003 NCAA finals
regatta is her most memorable rowing moment.

Michigan started in last place, but just as the Wolverines began
to doubt themselves, they pulled together and finished second.

Teamwork was the key in winning that race, and it’s just
the same for any other. And the closer a team is, the more
synchronized it can become.

“You cannot get random people and go (compete in)
rowing.” Mandoli said. “It’s the ultimate team
sport.”

Rowing creates a scenario in which all team members must remain
identical in form and speed. That strict condition of
synchronization is hard to achieve, and is not seen in many other
sports.

It is also a very physically demanding sport. Rowing requires
the arm and leg strength of a swimmer and the speed and endurance
of a runner.

Rowing also gave Mandoli another type of strength. It helped her
endure college life and being away from her home in British
Columbia.

“When I was a freshman, rowing helped my transition into
college,” Mandoli said.

Mandoli has enjoyed her experience at Michigan, especially her
coaches.

“There is no other program in the country that you can
compare the coaching staff to,” Mandoli said. “They are
all amazing coaches, as well as wonderful people.”

Mandoli’s coaches and teammates have helped her balance
college and rowing.

“It was pretty tough balancing the two,” Mandoli
said. “But I never have one without the other. The most
important thing for me was to set priorities.”

Mandoli’s college experience is practices and regattas
intertwined with papers, tests and presentations. Now Mandoli finds
herself on the verge of graduating this year.

“I love Michigan and can’t believe that my time is
almost up here. The team has become part of me, and is like a
second family to me.”

After graduating, Mandoli plans to study physical therapy at the
University of Western Ontario next fall, and she plans to continue
rowing.

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