Olympians run in cliques, too, and Shane Hamman was no different.
America's strongest man recognized rowers from his homeland while competing in Sydney and Athens but never thought their worlds could mix.
"Weightlifters hang out with guys from other sports that are similar like wrestling, judo and boxing, sports that hurt,” Hamman said. "We lift stuff. We punch each other. We throw each other around.
"Rowing seems more like an Ivy League sport, which obviously weightlifters aren't. Weightlifters are off the street and come from football teams.”
Little did Hamman know, his interests align perfectly with rowing. Hamman, a Mustang native and two-time Olympian, now works at the Chesapeake Boathouse, improving rower's skills through weightlifting. Hamman, now 35, spends most of his time at the boathouse training Oklahoma City University's rowing team and junior and master rowers.
He almost can't believe what he stumbled upon.
"It's hard to actually retire because you think you're never going to find anything that satisfies you like that competition,” said Hamman, who started working at the boathouse in June. "But I'm pretty happy doing what I'm doing now. I'm enjoying it.”
And he's getting results.
Hamman's services are not included with the boathouse's membership fee. But for $80 a month, Hamman provides eight group sessions, or two per week. With OCU's rowers, he has instituted a rigorous three-day-a-week workout program that develops muscles in their legs, back and arms and also involves cardiovascular work.
He mostly uses commonly seen weightlifting exercises like the clean, clean pull, squats and snatch to strengthen their muscles.
"Weightlifting is so good for rowing because the movement is so similar,” Hamman said. "The clean has the same technique as a rowing pull. It's all legs first, you drive with your back and you pull with your arms. And so what it's basically going to do is make the rowers pull harder and faster.
"One thing that they've been telling me is that their pulls are just way stronger. And towards the end of the race when they're getting tired, they feel that extra strength from training is allowing them to pull harder than they used to be able to.