Pilot in the spotlight: Hannah Johnson

By The Beacon | April 2, 2014 10:21pm
Hannah Johnson
Photo by Alexandra Bush

By W.C. Lawson |

Hannah Johnson



Seattle, Wash.

In high school you played volleyball, basketball, swimming, water polo, tennis and rowing. How did you decide to continue rowing among the other sports?

Rowing is very different from any other sport I did. I like the family aspect of rowing. I feel like it is stronger than other sports.

How is collegiate rowing different from high school rowing?

It’s more laid back in high school. You never have to worry about your position (on the team). In college, you are always competing for a seat so you have to prove to the coach you belong in that position.

What made you decide to row for Portland?

The former coach contacted me after racing in Boston. I took the opportunity and visited the school and the coach took me on a tour around the campus. I loved it.

Both your varsity and JV teams just won first place in the Daffodil Sprints, your team’s first official event of the spring. How does it feel to begin your season with across the board wins?

It feels really good. We are a growing sport so it’s good to get some recognition. It’s difficult to know with our time  because we were in bad weather,  but just to know we are getting faster from last year sets us up for the season.

What are some challenges you have to overcome during a windy race?

This past weekend, it was all about looking at everyone else and knowing everyone racing is in the same situation. Our coxswain does a good job of keeping our heads up and encouraging us to block it out.

How do you feel about waking up early for practice and training?

Hmm.. I wake up at 5:20 everyday. So, I don’t know. I like it. It forces you to make a routine and keep yourself in line. It’s hard sometimes, but it’s worth it. I get to see the sunrise every morning and it’s beautiful.

What do you like to do outside of rowing and school work?

I like napping. My teammates and I like to spend time together a lot. I love to go outside, one of teammates have been taking us on hikes and stuff. Also, we eat a lot.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Portland?

Little Big Burger, I LOVE burgers.

Do you have any routines you do to prepare the night before a race?

We’ll eat a good dinner. I like to sit in my bed, breathe and visualize the race in my head.

What’s been a highlight for your rowing career so far at UP?

One time, I saw a sea lion come up to one of the other boats and it almost tipped it over!

What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Pilots rowing team?

It is cool to wake up and know you can beat your goal each day. You can do that with academics, too. But it’s different when you’re on a team reaching for a group goal.