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1st Puerto Rican Rower to Qualify for Panam Games!

$6,740 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 88 people in 6 months
As the first Puerto Rican female rower to ever qualify for the Panamerican Games, I would love the opportunity to proudly represent my Island this summer at the Panamerican Games in Lima, Peru. But I need your help to make  it possible!

The island's financial crisis, exacerbated by Hurricane Maria, has greatly shortened the budget that the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee has to support its athletes, so Puerto Rico will not be sending all qualified athletes to the 2019 Panamerican Games.

In order to go, I need to demonstrate to the Puerto Rico Olympic committee that I am capable of a worthy representation in the Final of my event at the Panamerican Games. The only way to do this is to participate in a series of national and international competitions, for which I have to cover all costs - thus would greatly appreciate any help I can get!

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A little background about myself:

My name is Veronica Toro Arana and I am training to be the first female to ever row for Puerto Rico at the Olympics. 

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and I started rowing as a freshman in college at MIT, where I obtained my Bachelor’s in Biological Engineering. While being part of the First Varsity Eight of the MIT Woman’s Open Weight Crew, I started competing as the Woman Single sculler for Puerto Rico in 2014. 

Since then, I have represented Puerto Rico in three World Rowing Championships, two Central America and Caribbean Games, one Central America and Caribbean Rowing Cup, two Panamerican Games Qualifiers, and one Continental Olympic Qualifier. I have been named Rowing athlete of the year for Puerto Rico in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.

Last year, I won the Central America and Caribbean Rowing Cup, made it to the C Final at the World Rowing Championships, and became the fist female Puerto Rican to ever qualify for the Panamerican Games in rowing.

Outside of rowing, I am a student at Stanford School of Medicine, hoping to become a Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon. I have already completed my first two years of Medical School and am currently on a two year sabbatical training full time at Miami International RowHouse with Coach Francisco Viacava and remotely conducting research for the Stanford Cardiovascular Biomechanics Computational Lab. My research focuses on predicting surgery outcomes in children with a congenital heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, and was presented this past November 2018 at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions Conference.

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The stipend I receive for conducting my research helps me cover my cost of living, and most of my local training expenses, but it is definitely not enough to cover any of the competition expenses (including airfare, hotels, food, boat rentals, oar transport, coaching, etc.). Therefore any contribution you can give helps!!



Upcoming schedule:
Sarasota Invitational Masters Regatta,  Sarasota, Florida, February 24
OARS Master Regatta, Orlando, Florida, March 10
Memorial "Paolo d'Aloja" Regatta, Piediluco, Italia, April 7-14
US Rowing Senior Trials I, Sarasota, Florida,  April 18-21
FISA Training Camp and Regatta, Puerto Rico, April 29-May 5
World Rowing Cup II, Poland, June 21-23
USRowing Club Nationals, Ohio, July 8-14
Panamerican Games, Lima, July 26-August 11

36589228_1548628653349523_r.jpegThis is a picture of me with my Coach, Francisco Viacava at the Panamerican Qualification Regatta. Coach Franky trained the USA single sculler for the 2017 World Rowing Cup and World Rowing Championships, and has been one of the greatest assets on my path to accomplish my rowing goals.


Thank you so much for your donation!!

Vero and Coach Franky
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This season has been an incredible roller coaster! Every month, since February, I was able to attend a regatta in a different city in preparation for the Panamerican Games. From local Masters regattas, to USRowing Trials and Nationals, to international regattas and World Cups, every race taught me a valuable lesson, and every race pushed me a step forward to the performance I achieved at the Panamerican Games: I made it to the A Final!! My Coach and I are eternally grateful for all your support during my preparation for the Panamerican Games, and we dedicate this result to you :) THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

We are very happy with what we have accomplished so far, but we are hungry for more. Our next step and ultimate goal is to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 OLYMPICS!

Tomorrow I fly out to Linz, Austria to compete at the World Rowing Championships, the first of two shots at qualifying for the Olympics. The second shot to qualify will be at the Americas Olympic Qualification Regatta in Rio de Janeiro, April 2-5-2020. Based on our results at the Panamerican Games, we are very confident that we can qualify :)

Upon my return from Linz, I will be creating a new GoFundMe page with our plans until the Olympic Qualification Regatta. WE GREATLY APPRECIATE YOUR CONTINUOUS SUPPORT!

PS. To all donors: My Coach and I would like to mail you a thank you letter. Please email us your address to toroarana.vero@gmail.com :)
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The past two weeks I had a few great opportunities to work on my rowing and get stronger :D

April 7-14th I was in a training camp and regatta hosted by the International Rowing Federation (FISA) in Piedilucco, Italy. During the training camp I learned a lot from the FISA coaches that were helping us and had the opportunity to connect with several female rowers from other countries that are on a path similar to mine. My event in the regatta (W1x) had 27 participants from 13 different countries. On the Saturday Heats I qualified for the Sunday A Final :) During the Final I beat the Russian sculler to finish seventh.

April 16th-21st I was in Sarasota, Florida for the US Rowing Senior Trials I. During the time trials held on Thursday (in which top 14 advanced to the heats), I finished 8th! Over the rest of the weekend I competed against the top woman scullers from the US, ranging between the top 8-10 times each race. I am extremely pleased with these results, which show great improvement from the previous years.

I am excited for what's next to come, and extremely grateful for all the help I have received, which has allowed for these opportunities :)
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Yesterday I had a great time racing at the OARS Masters Invitational Regatta with Kate McFetridge, Silver Medalist at the last Pan American Games. Won gold in the single, double, and mixed eight events!
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On February 24th I competed at the Sarasota Invitational Masters Regatta with Kate McFetridge, Silver Medalist at last Pan American Games. I came in 0.3 second behind her in the single, and then raced in the double and pair with her to beat all of our competition in raw time :) It was a lot of fun!
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