Trish Mara didn’t want to row.
She was a 15-year-old gymnast growing too tall for the sport and her parents pushed her to try a rowing summer camp.
“I didn’t really want to do the summer camp. I thought, ‘This is the stupidest thing — rowing,’” the now-29-year-old said. “I ended up really enjoying it and ended up doing a little bit of rowing and gymnastics at the same time, and then I realized it was time to quit gym.”
The Team Canada rower, from Victoria, is set to make her Pan American Games debut next month in Lima, Peru. She’ll be competing in the women’s lightweight single sculls, aiming to top the fourth-place finish from her last international competition.
“Very close fourth,” she emphasized. “I definitely will be aiming for a medal.”
Her previous international experience — aside from a few World University Rowing Championship events — saw her and her teammates in the women’s quadruple sculls finish just 0.13 seconds behind third-place China at the 2017 world championships.
Mara hasn’t competed internationally since the event, because of injury.
She was dealing with hip pain for roughly a year before she underwent surgery in October, and she only returned to the water at the end of March.
“It feels good to be back competing internationally after what was a long process of rehabbing,” she said.
Her trust is with her team’s plan as she prepares for the competition.
“It’s just follow the plan and believe in the process,” she said.
She clearly respects the national program.
Mara, who was born and raised in Victoria, watched the national team training in the area when she was a junior rower. The athletes, which included Olympians, helped and inspired her.
“Hopefully I can inspire the next generation,” she said.
The Pan Am Games are held every four years. The upcoming competition, which runs from July 26 to Aug. 11, will feature 6,700 athletes from 41 countries.
The rowing events are set for Aug. 6 to 10.