Sarah Trowbridge and USD Women's Rowing

By Helen Tompkins | March 14, 2018

Last summer University of San Diego women’s rowing hired two national team athletes, head coach, Sarah Trowbridge, and assistant, Stesha Carle. Having trained with both these women I have a deep admiration of their intense determination, and was curious to hear how things were progressing at USD.

Trowbridge is a 2012 Olympian, six time Senior National Team athlete, and U.S. National Team coach.  She was a 2016 Olympic coach, Vesper High Performance head coach, Yale and Georgetown assistant coach.  Trowbridge started rowing her senior year of high school. Trowbridge was coaching juniors and masters within a year of learning herself.

Carle is a four time National Team athlete, 2012 Olympic Trials winner, and 2016 Olympic Trials runner up. Previously, Carle was a weightlifting and fitness coach at Long Beach Rowing Association. Directly after graduating University of Michigan, Carle became the novice coach for her alma mater.

“Carle has a mountain-moving positivity combined with an honest love for developing people and the sport.” - Sarah Trowbridge

Trowbridge and Carle rowed together at Michigan, both graduating 2006.  For elite openweight rowers they are uncommonly small in height and weight.  Though they had different paths to the national team, they both spent time training as scullers at the U.S. Training Center.  The difficulty faced at the Training Center is great for anyone but for a small openweight women it especially insurmountable.  Resulting for this experience, in recruiting they are looking beyond erg scores, weight, and height because they were successful without these typical attributes.

“We are looking for the intangibles, the heart of a racer as much as the ingredients.” - Sarah Trowbridge

Trowbridge believes anything is possible with ingenuity, resiliency, and a little elbow grease, she brings this belief to her athletes.  Trowbridge’s unwavering drive bears the fruit of earned confidence. She does not get flustered at speed bumps in training or in life because of the difficulties tackled during a 2k test.  

Trowbridge is teaching USD women the life skills she learned though the sport.  

“A lot of collegiate coaching is about life. Teaching how to approach problems and reliability in relationship through the experience of sport.  Building integrity and character by pulling with everything, to the best of individual ability, every stroke, and doing it for the women in front and behind.” -Sarah Trowbridge

There is a practice of Changemaking at USD that Trowbridge sees in her team.  This is a USD social movement where students, faculty and staff commit to creating a positive social impact though “multidisciplinary approaches that develop empathy, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills” (Changemaker Hub. 2/25/18.https://www.sandiego.edu/changemaker/about/).  USD and the team have a good culture that Trowbridge wishes to continue empowering.

Trowbridge and Carle are working to grow the team.  USD roster is on the smaller side with a very small percent of underclassmen.  For Trowbridge, she stepped into a team that was already “exceptionally self-reliant, organized, cohesive, eager to learn and capable.”  She wants more of them in the coming years.