On Tap with ... Will Gillis and Ian Silveira
Q: What is your favorite thing about Princeton?
Will: Yeah, rowing’s great. I like class too.
I: You would like class. He probably lives the healthiest lifestyle of anyone on the team. He goes to bed at 10:30, wakes up at 7:30.
W: Early to bed, early to rise.
Q: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
I: He likes to walk around on his tippy-toes.
W: Yes, it stretches out the calves.
I: We’ll usually do a boat dinner the night before. I always run through the same warm-up, listen to the same songs.
Q: What songs?
W: When [our coach] rowed, he suggested listening to the same three Nirvana songs on repeat, but I never picked up on that one. I can’t do Nirvana — even though I’m from Seattle, I’m not a big Nirvana guy.
Q: How do you guys take losing?
I: I’m a horrible loser. I hate losing.
W: Losing sucks. When we race, we race in eights, and as a part of our training in the fall, we race in pairs. And so the top guys all race against each other in pairs on Tuesdays. We were pair partners in the fall. Ian’s a senior and I’m a sophomore, and this was my first season on the varsity team because freshmen row separately. We were racing in pairs, and we had been winning the race until the very end, and another boat came through and beat us, and Ian turned around to me and said that he would punch me in the face if we lost again. That was when I still thought of Ian as a scary big-shot senior, but now I know him for the guy he really is.
Q: Who is the quirkiest person on your team?
I: [Junior] Allan Amico. He’s really quirky because he thinks he has a different physiology than everyone else in the whole world, so he’s devised his own training program that he thinks is the gold standard.
W: He also has this extremely bizarre yawn.
I: Oh yeah. It sounds like a seal. It’s pretty interesting.
W: And he’s from Buffalo, which is apparently just close enough to Canada that you get a weird accent, so some words are pretty strange, like “tired.”
I: It’s basically spelled “toyerd” for him.
Q: What was your “welcome-to-college” moment?
I: Probably the first night out with the team. We have this really interesting ritual where we rip the freshmen’s sleeves off their shirts. I guess that was like “welcome to college” for me because then you feel like you’re a part of the team.
W: For me, we already told the story about Ian wanting to punch me in the face, but it’s a little different freshman year because you’re in your own boat, and it’s a freshman team. That was not really my “welcome to college” moment, but my “welcome to the varsity team” moment.
Q: What is the best thing about being an athlete at Princeton?
W: I think just competing for your school, being able to put on a uniform that says “Princeton” on it. It gives you the ability to represent the school outside of the classroom.
Q: What is the worst thing about being an athlete at Princeton?
I: I guess time spent. I feel like you miss out on a lot of stuff that other people have the time to do because you have so many time constraints.
Q: If you could be good at any other sport, what would it be?
W: Well, first, I would just say anything, because every other sport on campus gets fans, basically, except for us. It’s boring, early in the morning and bad weather, so anything with fans would be nice.
I: It would be great to be really good at golf. It’s just fun. You can go and do it whenever.
Q: Do you guys have any role models?
I: I guess Greg Hughes [’96], our coach. He’s the man. He’s got so much Patagonia gear. I really hope he reads this too. He’s just such a sweet guy; he’s so cool.
W: When you make your way up the ladder, you always look up to the guys who are ahead of you. Ian works incredibly hard, has had a lot of success, and we’re very different guys in a lot of ways, but there are some things that you want to emulate, and his work ethic is definitely one of them.