STORRS, Conn. - Being one of just five senior student-athletes on the UConn rowing team, Sarah Norman has picked up a leadership role in her final year with the Huskies through four years of collegiate experience.
A native of South Glastonbury, Conn., Norman has been a solid contributor in each of her four seasons under 20-year head coach Jennifer Wendry and the UConn rowing program.
It is through her experience as a rower, as well as a social studies and history education major, that Norman has developed as a student, athlete and human being since her freshman year in 2013.
"The past four years on the rowing team have presented me with so many different and amazing opportunities. Coming in as a freshman, I did not know what to expect," said Norman. "Over the course of four years, I have significantly grown as an athlete and an individual."
Included on the list of skills she has mastered include time management and perseverance in the face of obstacles, as she plans to pursue a career as an educator following graduation.
One of Norman's UConn highlights took place in the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship, when she was part of the Varsity 4+ that earned a bronze medal in Sacramento, Calif - but it almost didn't happen.
"Reflecting on that day, our boat was at the starting line when I realized I had a splinter in my foot and we were unable to remove it," said Norman. "In a stressful moment, one of my teammates took her sock off and we used it as a cushion so I could race pain-free."
"At the end of the race, everyone collapsed of exhaustion, and it was uncertain what place we had come in," said Norman. "When we found out we got third, all of us felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and excitement, as it was a really special moment for our boat."
Norman will take that experience to help the Huskies in their final two competitions of the season - the Women's Eastern Sprints on April 30 in Worcester, Mass. and the AAC Championship on May 13 in Sarasota, Fla.
UConn is coming off a strong outing in a dual meet with Holy Cross, earning four first-place finishes at Lake Quinsigamond. The team looks to use that momentum moving forward.
"In the last couple of weeks before the AAC Championship, I have noticed so many people are eager to race and compete. Everyone feels prepared and confident," said Norman. "All boats have had strong performances lately and I'm excited to see how we race in Florida."
Norman will graduate in May, but will return to UConn to complete her Masters in Secondary History and Social Studies Education.
"In the fall, my program and I have the unique opportunity to study abroad in Nottingham, England," said Norman. "In the spring, I will be completing my masters in Connecticut at Conard High School, working to develop a human rights curriculum."