Anderson sneaks up on success


POSTED: Thursday, May 28, 2009

The key to momentum?

Feed the motivation without starving the desire.

It's not easy, particularly at elite levels of athletics. Boredom and burnout are twin enemies to sustaining the drive because, when it's no longer enjoyable, what's the point?

It hasn't been a problem for Giulia Anderson, a senior at 'Iolani School. Success has come quickly in kayaking, and that has kept her focused on continuing to improve.

What started as cross-training for outrigger canoe paddling just a few years ago has grown into a passion, one that has her ranked as the top junior female paddler in the U.S. At the recent U.S. Canoe/Kayak sprint team trials in Chula Vista, Calif., Anderson won every final she qualified for: K-1 and K-2 (with Katy Hill) at both 500 and 1,000 meters.

The success has added to Anderson's hectic schedule. In between graduating from 'Iolani on June 6 and starting her freshman year at Washington, the Hawaii Canoe-Kayak Team member heads to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the U.S. Junior World Championship training camp and team trials. If she makes the team, the next stop is Moscow for the world championships in July.

“;It's very exciting and very scary,”; the 17-year-old said. “;It's going to be intense, with the absolute cream of the crop, and I'll be the only Hawaii person there.

“;I try not to expect anything. When I came out on top (at the trials) I was pleasantly surprised.”;

Those who know Anderson and her pedigree are not. Uncles Jim and John Foti are expert watermen who have excelled in outrigger paddling. Her sister Nicole ('Iolani '05) was a state cross country champion who also helped Amherst College to a national title.

Giulia Anderson's success has not been limited to the water, where she also has earned Interscholastic League of Honolulu kayak titles. Carrying a 4.14 grade-point average, she won the Star Poets competition sponsored by Starbucks and will read her award-winning poem on Sunday at Paliku Theater.

“;Whatever she puts her mind to you know she's going to do well,”; HCKT K-2 partner Kati Erwin (Punahou '05) said of Anderson. “;She's such a strong paddler, very confident, but is so unassuming.

“;Even though she's younger (by four years) we have a friendship through paddling and kayaking.”;

It was a bond strengthened by early morning drives over the Pali. HCKT trains on the Ala Wai with practices starting at 5:45 a.m.

“;There is a lot of dedication involved,”; Erwin said.

And motivation.

“;Part of getting motivated is momentum,”; Anderson said. “;When I get into a sport, I want to keep it going, keep building. If I do a 10-mile race, then I want to see if I can do 12. If I can race at the state level, then I want to take it to the national level.

“;I've been so fortunate, it would be hard to thank everyone who's helped me, there are too many. People have given me boats to use so I don't have to ship one. I've been given cold-weather gear. The only thing I own is a paddle.”;

Anderson hasn't decided if she'll row for UW. She's been accepted into the honors program, likely majoring in history and environmental science.

“;I'll see how many things I can juggle,”; she said. “;But probably I will.”;

And likely will be very good at it as well.