Four years ago, Travis Taaffe set out on a path — one he hoped would eventually land him among the nation’s elite.
After watching his older brother, Alex, make the U.S. Junior National Team in 2009, the then 13-year-old, who had been rowing recreationally for the past two years, made the decision to take his rowing career to the next level.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother, Taaffe joined the Sarasota Crew and worked on fulfilling his own dreams while making a name for himself along the way.
Now, four years later, the Pine View School senior, who recently won a national title with the Crew’s Men’s Varsity 8+ team, is looking to add world champion to his list of accolades.
In July, Taaffe was one of eight high school rowers chosen to represent the U.S. in the Men’s Varsity 8+ at the 2013 World Rowing Junior Championships Aug. 7 thorough Aug. 11 in Trakai, Lithuania.
“I am still kind of in shock actually; but I did have a lot of confidence going into camp after winning nationals, which was definitely helpful,” Taaffe says. “I think that it is really special to be representing the U.S. in international competition; and I have wanted to get to this point in my rowing ever since I watched my brother compete at the same event four years ago.”
Taaffe has spent the past three weeks training in Princeton, N.J. He’s now preparing to head to Lithuania, where he’ll spend another week training before the world championships begin.
“I’m looking forward to traveling abroad to race against all of the other countries,” says Taaffe, who has been training twice a day, seven days a week for the world championships.
Following the world championships, Taaffe will return to Sarasota and begin preparing for his final year with the Crew. Since joining the Crew in 2009, Taaffe has helped lead the team to three consecutive state championships and its first national championship.
He also finished first in the men’s junior A quad and the men’s junior B single at the 2011 Club National Championships and in the men’s youth 4 at the 2011 and 2012 Head of Charles Regatta in Boston.
“I enjoy being out on the water and putting in hard work to win races,” Taaffe says. “Winning makes all of the hard work worth it in the end.”
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].