CHUNGJU, South Korea – An eight-year rowing career that began during her freshman year at Pacific Lutheran reached its apex Wednesday as PLU alum Natalie McCarthy and rowing partner Paul Hurley earned a bronze medal at the 2013 World Rowing Championships.
The pair won the first medal for the United States at the World Championships, which continue Thursday. Their bronze came in the legs, trunk and arms mixed Para-Rowing double sculls, a new event in international adaptive rowing.
"It's really exciting," McCarthy said. "I've been training for this for eight years. And so, literally, I'm living my dream right now. This is a dream come true. I never, ever expected to get here, much less win a bronze medal. I am on cloud nine right now."
McCarthy's rowing success traces back to her days at PLU, as she explained that she "ran track in high school, but wasn't fast enough to run in college. Someone suggested rowing, and I've been doing it ever since."
Since graduating from PLU in 2009, McCarthy had been training on her own while working as a Spanish interpreter for a law firm. She was never able to make it past development and selection camps before meeting retired U.S. Naval Officer Hurley last year. Hurley had been a runner prior to losing his right leg in an accident in Bahrain. After taking up rowing, he and McCarthy joined forces and finished the 1,000-meter course in 4:08.59 to place behind Ukraine (3:27.98) and Germany (3:34.48).