Penn AC Athlete Spotlight: Greg Ansolabehere

by: Paul Coomes


Penn AC Athlete Spotlight:

Greg Ansolabehere


Greg Ansolabehere

Hometown: Bakersfield, CA

Q1: How did you discover rowing?

A: I walked by the men’s rowing booth during rush week at Sacramento State. A couple of the guys told me I should come out to practice.

Q2: What made you want to row?

A: I was a very unathletic kid and gained a lot of weight between elementary and high school. After topping out at 320lbs my senior year, I decided I needed to do something about my weight. Over the next year I lost 100lbs and transferred from the local community college to Sacramento State. I decided to stick with rowing to keep the weight off.

Q3: What is your favorite thing about rowing?

A: When you’re having a bad practice and the strokes are terrible, especially in team boats. When you’re all doing everything in your power to make sure the boat is set and you’re matching the guy in front of you, but it’s just not working. You take a moment to spin and get water and you all communicate about the stroke and what needs to be worked on to make it better. You pick it back up and start working with a common focus and you slowly start to carve out a better stroke. Then, out of nowhere, you and your teammates produce an excellent, boat moving stroke that turns the whole practice around…and you’re able to repeat it. The feeling of satisfaction and pleasure that washes over you is my favorite thing about rowing. Working toward a goal and making it happen.

Q4: Share a favorite memory.

A: Winning the Senior 8+ at Club Nationals in 2010. I was rowing with a great group of guys and we were all having a fun summer. We had a coach that knew how to motivate us and we rowed well. The best part of that race is when we pulled ahead of the leading boat with less that 500m to go and knew we had it in the bag. Our rowing cleaned and quickened up and the shell came alive. I’ll never forget it.

Q5: Why train at Penn AC?

A: I train at Penn AC because there isn’t another men’s sculling group in this country that can hold a candle to the level of sportsmanship and determination to succeed that I see in my teammate’s day in and day out. Nowhere else is there a mass of sculling talent ready to compete at the highest levels and lay it all on the line to do so. There is no other choice.

Q6: Typical training day at Penn AC?

A: We all walk through the boathouse door ready to work. We suffer with each other for a couple hours on the water or the erg, then go to our day jobs and watch the clock until we get to go back to the boathouse. We walk back through the boathouse doors tired, but ready to get back to work. We suffer some more, together. We don’t work at our jobs, only at the boathouse. Jobs are recovery.

 Q7: Rowing background/accomplishments

A: Background:

  • Clubs: Sacramento State Mens Crew 08′-10′; Oklahoma City National High-Performance Center 10′-13′
  • Potomac Boat Club 13′-17′; Penn AC 17′-Present


  • Won the Senior 8+ at 2010 Club Nationals with Vesper Boat Club
  • 3rd place finish in the Men’s Single Sculls at 2016 Olympic Trials
  • 2018 Senior National Team Men’s Quad


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