Five gold medals and one bronze.
That is what Oklahoma City University rower Kathryn Schiro earned in six races at the Head of the Oklahoma Regatta Saturday and Sunday on the Oklahoma River.
Schiro, 22, is OCU's top female rower and an Olympic hopeful. She has a goal of winning a sport on the United States' 2016 Olympic team.
“I want to go to the Olympics someday,” Schiro said Sunday after winning her fifth gold. “A lot of people suggested or hinted that maybe I should try and go for 2012 (Olympic Games), but I want to finish school.”
Schiro already represented the United States last summer when she earned a spot on the national under-23 team and competed with OCU teammate Jane Imfeld at the U23 World Championships in Amsterdam.
“That is a big achievement,” said OCU women's rowing coach Melanie Borger.
Schiro and Imfeld were part of the U.S. lightweight women's quad that finished sixth in the grand final.
Making the under-23 team often is a steppingstone to making the U.S. senior national team and competing in the Olympics and in world championships in non-Olympic years, Borger said.
“Kat definitely has the potential to make a senior national team in the future,” she said. “On the water in her singles, she occasionally beats many of the women on the senior team.”
Schiro, a junior from Huntsville, Ala., won the women's single sculls event at the prestigious Dad Vail Collegiate Championship in May.
“That was pretty significant for me,” Schiro said of the victory. “It just showed all the hard work I had put in that year.”
Schiro also upset senior U.S. national team members at the 2011 USRowing National Championships to capture a silver medal.
Schiro showed her potential early. She started rowing at age 15, and, after just three months of training, won the junior singles in sculling at the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“I screamed when I saw the results,” Schiro said. “I couldn't believe it.”
OCU discovered Schiro at a Head of the Hooch regatta and started recruiting her. She chose OCU because the Stars place a strong emphasis on sculling (using both oars to row).
Most collegiate programs only do sweep rowing (using just one oar), Borger said.
“I knew sculling was the best chance I would have to reach the Olympics someday,” Schiro said. “(OCU) was the only school that offered that where I would have the support to reach those goals. It has not proven to be a wrong choice at all.”
Borger said Schiro not only has excelled on the water, but she has maintained a grade-point average of 3.5 or better at OCU and been the perfect teammate.
“Even though she is by far the fastest girl on the OCU (rowing) team, you wouldn't be able to tell it by the way she interacts with her teammates,” Borger said. “She is always lending them a helping hand. She is very humble.”