Pleasanton resident Megan Goodman is heading to Bulgaria today as part of the United States rowing team competing in the Under 23 World Championships.
"I am so unbelievably excited to just have the opportunity to race on team USA and to represent my country," Goodman said in an email interview last weekend. "This entire experience is absolutely surreal, and I can't wait to soak up every minute of it."
Goodman, a 2013 Foothill High graduate, is a standout for the University of San Diego rowing team, which swept West Coast Conference play and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament last season.
She is partnered with Harvard University's Mary Carmack on the national team, with the duo set to face off against the best young female rowers in the world in the under-23 women's double sculls (U23 W2X) event. The world championships run from July 22-26 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Goodman's rise in the national ranks has been rapid -- considering she had no rowing experience until walking on to the USD team as a freshman two years ago.
She was a well-rounded athlete growing up, swimming on the Foothill varsity team all four years and logging time on the volleyball and basketball teams early in high school. But a key injury altered her athletic path.
"At the end of my junior season, I broke my elbow at (high school section) championships in my final race," she said. "This turn of events forced me to look into other athletic options at USD, and the rowing coaches were extremely willing to teach me this incredible sport."
After completing her sophomore year at USD this past term, Goodman was invited to the U.S. Rowing U23 national team selection camp in Princeton, N.J.
There she met Carmack, and the two decided to enter the trials for double sculls.
"After less than two weeks training together, we won the trials final by over six seconds, which earned us a spot on the 2015 U23 USA national team," Goodman recalled.
The pair then moved their training to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in northern Vermont in the lead-up to the world championships. Their flight to Bulgaria leaves today.
"Because Mary and I are both relatively new to the world of rowing and this is our first international regatta, we hope to put out our best races possible abroad and to learn more about ourselves as athletes and rowing for the United States," Goodman said.
The Bulgarian event provides an incredible opportunity, but it also comes at a cost, she added.
"Competition at worlds, however, is entirely athlete-funded, and between entry fees, transportation, room and board and equipment rentals, racing in an international regatta can become quite expensive," Goodman explained.
The duo opened an online donation account to help raise funds for their trip. It remains open through July 26.
"Your support from home will allow us to focus in on our goal abroad: racing well and representing the United States the best we can," Goodman said. "Every dollar really does help us in making this dream come true."
The fundraising effort is accessible online.
Goodman and Carmack also plan to provide frequent updates on their trip via social media.