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In The Boat With Paige Aiello

Apr 19, 2013, 3:46 PM EDT

Senior Paige Aiello has progressed from walk-on novice to experienced team leader during her time in the Irish 8+ boat.

Last week, you guys got to hear all about the ND experience through the eyes of a freshman athlete. This week I would like to show you guys another perspective. Meet Paige Aiello, a senior from Rochester Hills, MI. Paige began her collegiate career as a walk on, and over the past four years, has become a true team leader for the rest of the Irish rowers. Read on to learn more about Paige and her senior season with the rowing team.

When did you start rowing?

I started rowing my freshman year at Notre Dame as a walk on.

What made you decide to start?

Well, I have taken part in competitive sports all my life, and I wasn’t ready to give that up just yet.

What is the hardest part about being a student-athlete at ND?

Definitely figuring out a time management system. Even though we are athletes, the demands of school still exist. Every athlete here has to find a way to excel in school while still devoting time and energy to their sport.

Do you have any special rituals you like to do before regattas?

Before regattas I like to warm up with my boat. We’ll go through a land warm up together, which makes me feel very centered and relaxed around my teammates.

What is it like being in your senior season?

It’s fun being a senior because we have such a great class! I think it’s exciting that we are the last senior class to be competing for a BIG EAST title this year too.

Does being in the BIG EAST for the last time make you want to work harder?

Well, there is some pressure for us to bring home the win one last time, but it’s nothing we won’t push ourselves to accomplish.

What have been some of your favorite memories while rowing at ND?

One of my favorite moments was when we beat Stanford last year, because we were coming off of a bad race in the morning and we really pulled ourselves together to have one of our best races of the season that afternoon. Also, I love the BIG EAST Championship Regatta. It’s always one of my favorite times of the year because our whole team is in attendance, and as such it’s a chance for us to show where our team is at as a whole. Finally, the NCAA Championship Regatta we competed in last year was an awesome experience because we saw and learned firsthand what it takes to compete at the highest level.

What are your thoughts on your coaches?

Our coaches are amazing. They give us the confidence to push ourselves harder each day, and they provide us with a strong foundation from which we can draw upon our own inner strength to perform at our best in tough situations.

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