Sara Salvo balances rowing, career aspirations

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Sara Salvo is a senior on the women’s rowing team at Lehigh University. This past summer, she interned for Americans for Prosperity in D.C. (Jane Henderson/B&W Staff)

As senior rower and captain Sara Salvo approaches the finish line of her collegiate athletic career, she is only nearing the start of her professional career.

Salvo, who is entering her third year as a Lehigh rower and her final year as an undergraduate student, has to balance her leadership on the team with her aspirations to get into law school.

This past summer, Salvo interned with a political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, in Washington, D.C.

Through her involvement with Americans for Prosperity, Salvo has been to blend the mission and vision of her internship with her experiences on the rowing team. Salvo has reflected on the 10 guiding principles Americans for Prosperity regarded as most important to adhere to during her internship.

“The (principles) that I think reflect what I’m doing with the team are integrity, which is actually a Lehigh athletics pillar, entrepreneurship, and respect and humility,” Salvo said. “Respect and humility, I think, are two of the greatest qualities you can have that will make people want to come to you as a resource.”

Salvo is one of three captains and said she welcomes teammates who utilize her as a resource, especially freshmen.

Freshman rower Stella Buckley said Salvo would call her once every two weeks over the summer to see how she was doing. She said Salvo has been very welcoming to all of the freshmen.

“She does a really good job at reaching out to freshmen,” Buckley said, “Making sure we all feel super welcome, and she’s always at my door at 5:30 waking me up for practice.”

Junior rower Allison Connors said while Salvo makes everything look easy, she has a lot on her plate. She said Salvo has amazed her with how she has balanced everything this past semester.

“It’s such a blessing to have her around — I try to model my life and my work ethic around her,” Connors said. “She gets it all done at the end of the day.”

Salvo said her experience on the team has helped her prepare for her busy schedule.

“Throughout my time on the team a really big saying from our coach, and the team is adopting it more now too, is ‘get comfortable being uncomfortable,’” Salvo said.

Salvo said with the downs come the ups, and she is excited with the way the rowing team is progressing.

Last year, Salvo was a part of the Patriot League Championship bronze medal-winning team and is beginning to see a shift in the team’s mentality.

“We come into the weight room or practices and people genuinely want to work hard and want to be there for themselves and for the team, instead of needing coaches to constantly be reminding us what our goals are and why we signed up for this,” Salvo said.

This fall, Salvo’s boat saw a 14th place finish out of 28 teams at the Navy Invitational with a time of 14:37:16 and a 21st place finish at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, MA, with a time of 18:00:383.

Salvo, in her final season as a rower, said she has high hopes for her younger teammates and the program.

Buckley said even though Salvo is graduating, she still is setting an example for the future team by motivating everyone to do their best.

“It’s so inspirational,” Buckley said.

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