Aug. 9, 2012
SEATTLE - Max Mannisto hadn't planned on traveling to Lithuania this summer. His original goal was to work at Amazon and build his resume for a post-rowing future. But after a boat filled with four Huskies (along with Alex Kornick from the US Naval Academy) qualified for the U-23 World Championships at trials, the rising senior from Belmont, Calif., decided to put his summer plans on hold for rowing. The decision proved sound when Mannisto stroked his boat to a silver medal at U-23s in his very first international appearance. In a Q&A with recent Husky graduate Rob Munn, Mannisto details the experience in Lithuania, as well as his goals for the future.
GoHuskies.com: What was it like winning the IRA in the JV 8 this year?
Mannisto: It was unreal. My goal at the beginning of the year was to be able to make the JV 8. As the year went on my goal shifted to stroking the JV, something I had done in practice but never in an actual race. It was very rewarding to accomplish something I set my mind to.
GoHuskies: When did you know that you wanted to represent the United States at the U-23 Rowing World Championships?
Mannisto: Not until we had actually qualified to represent the US actually. I had intended to spend this summer working so that I could build up my resume. About a week before the US trials, we started to think about the idea of going to trials and try for the national team; even then I was more worried about having to give up my job for the summer than trying to go to U23s. Once we crossed the line though, I knew that I had to find a way to go to Trakai [Lithuania].
GoHuskies: Congratulations on your silver-medal finish [at U23s]. Describe the feeling of representing your country on the medals dock with a silver medal.
Mannisto: Thank you. It was an honor to bring home some hardware for the US. It was definitely special seeing the American flag raised during the medal ceremonies, it has a different feel to racing when they call you as "the United States". Silver was motivating though, I'd like to go again next year and try and bring home gold.
GoHuskies: What did it mean to accomplish this with some of your fellow Husky teammates?
Mannisto: It was great to row with my fellow Huskies. It felt more like a continuation of the season since I was rowing with guys I've known for the last three years. But it was fun to row with someone from a different school; Alex was a great teammate and I'm really glad he was in our boat this summer.
GoHuskies: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
Mannisto: I'm currently working at Amazon as a temp with another Husky rower, Jay Thompson. But once my contract is up in August I'll be going home for a little while in California.
GoHuskies: You're coming into your senior season. What is your mindset going into your final season as a Husky?
Mannisto: It's exciting. It's going to be a fast year with the freshman coming up and Conlin [McCabe] coming back [from the Olympics]. It's going to be tough to make a boat. I'd like to try and make the Varsity 8, but I know it's going to be a challenge. I think it will be a good goal for the year. I think next year is going to be bittersweet though. I'm really looking forward to being a senior on the team, but it will also be sad that this is my last year here. I really want to make this one count.