Rowing’s Scooby Doo
and Scrappy Doo
Last year was a big year for Erin Cafaro
and Susan Francia of the USA. The 2008
Olympic Champions in the women’s eight
raced in two boat classes, the pair and
the eight, at the 2009 World Rowing
Championships, and scored gold in both.
to make excuses for why you aren’t going as fast
on the erg, lifting as much weight, or making a
boat move,” she says. “If anything, being considered
‘small’ or ‘undersized’ makes me want to
work harder to show that it’s just a
state of mind.”
primarily squats and deadlifts, they increased my
power output and also forced me to utilise my whole
body as one piece like the rowing stroke.”
Erin Cafaro (s) and Susan Francia
(b) of the USA training in the pair.
For Cafaro, 2009 was her first year doubling up at the World R o w i n g C h a m p i o n s h i p s . “[It] was such an honour to be able to represent my >
At first sight, Francia and Cafaro may seem an
unlikely pair. One, Francia is tall, standing 188cm.
Cafaro, at 175cm, is rather short for a heavyweight
rower. Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo is what they
call each other.
“We just complement each other even though
we’re kind of different,” says Francia. “We have
different physical strengths but the same mentality.”
Heavy weightlifting is what Cafaro is
a fan of, and this has certainly played a
role in developing her athletic strength.
“Heavy lifting makes you stronger.
There are many people with
misconceptions of lifting heavy
weights. I’ve learned over the
years that by increasing
weight and doing
“Susan is an extremely strong and talented athlete,”
says Cafaro. “I’ve learned a lot from rowing with
her as with all my teammates. Susan and I seem
to match each other pretty well through the water
and in race mentality.”
Cafaro’s mental strength has made up for her size.