Athletes to Watch at the World Championships: Emily Schmieg

You may have heard the name Emily Schmieg. If you haven’t you will. With too many accolades to mention in this modest article, Boathouse Ambassador Emily Schmieg has been competing, placing, and winning since her first gold in the lightweight quadruple sculls at the 2015 USRowing National Championships. This week you’ll find Emily in Austria at the World Rowing Championships competing for her spot in the 2020 Olympics and nothing is going to get in her way.

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” - Ayn Rand

The Dream of Being an Olympian
“I’ve wanted to be an Olympian for as long as I can remember” Emily recalls. As a kid she drew inspiration from Michelle Kwan, Mia Hamm, Michael Johnson and Picabo Street and tried just about every sport she could. A decent athlete at several sports but not a standout at any, Emily picked up rowing on a whim at the University of Pittsburgh, which led to a remarkably successful career at a small club program (Potomac Boat Club).

Training for World’s
In the weeks leading up to World’s, Emily was working on a couple of different fronts including rate work, weight training and “mental toughness” exercises in preparation of competing in a single while relying solely on herself to get to the finish line. Emily embraces and even enjoys this new challenge. She feels “this process has been hugely beneficial to my rowing and will hopefully make me a stronger athlete going into the Olympic year.”

Emily’s typical training schedule is two practices a day, 6 days a week. She spends 90 minutes to 2 hours rowing in the morning (in the winter she’s on the erg), and the afternoons are a mix. She lifts 2-3 days a week, cross trains (ie. cycling and running), or takes additional time on the water depending on if she’s preparing for a race or working on a technical change.

Emily’s Pump Up Playlist
You can’t work out as much as Emily without a fire playlist. Here’s what Emily is currently rocking to get the adrenaline kicking:

  • Unstoppable - The Score
  • Walk on Water - 30 Seconds to Mars
  • The Champion - Carrie Underwood
  • We Will Rock You - Queen
  • The Fighter - Gym Class Heroes
  • Survival - Eminem
  • Watch Me Walk - Jay Watts
  • Thunderstruck - AC/DC
  • Roar - Katy Perry

Diet of Champions
Rigorous training means rigorous calorie burn, and high velocity calorie burn requires Emily to eat in 90 minute intervals to continue the steady flow of energy she needs to complete her training. Breakfast is usually around 5am before practice and consists of two slices of toast with almond butter, a banana and coffee – LOTS of coffee. Second breakfast (or post workout breakfast) usually falls around 8am and it typically greek yogurt, fresh fruit and granola.

Lunch and dinner are usually a blend of veggies, carbs, and lean protein to help rebuild her muscle and fuel her metabolism. Emily is also a big fan of dessert and lives by the mantra ”life is too short to always be dieting," so she keeps a pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Half Baked” ice cream available at all times. (To note, there are also some key health benefits to eating ice cream – it provides key nutrients, including calcium, phosphorous, potassium and energizing B-vitamins – as well as protein for tissue repair and cell growth.

Support is Key
Emily has been incredibly lucky that her family and friends have been fully supportive of her dream of being an Olympian. She says, “Sure, they’ll challenge some of my decisions and make me really think about my pursuit, but they are always there on the bank cheering me on.”

If you were to narrow down all the support to the single most source of inspiration that pushed, inspired and drove her to pursue her Olympic goals it would be the 1999 Women's World Cup soccer team. Emily recalls that game as an 11 year old soccer player watching that final against China was proof that female athletes are incredibly strong and a force to be reckoned with, and I wanted to be exactly like them”.

We wish Emily the best as she competes against the best in at the 2019 World Rowing Championship in Austria. She has the drive, motivation and technical skill to take it all the way to Tokyo 2020. Boathouse will be cheering for you, Emily. Good luck!

Have a recommendation on other Athletes to Watch at the World Championship? Comment below and let us know!