The Stanford medical student who qualified for the Olympics by rowing
Veronica Toro Arana, despite being just 5 feet 10 inches tall, played middle blocker for her high school volleyball team in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
V. Toro Arana Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
She tried out for the varsity team, but they were too big for her on the MIT volleyball squad. She explained, “In Puerto Rico, I was tall, but at MIT, I was short.” She looked for something else to do and found that lightweight rowing was a great fit for her physique.
After making the decision, she devoted herself to rowing for several years in college and at international competitions, eventually becoming the first female rower to represent Puerto Rico at the Tokyo Olympics.
“She said that meeting people from so many different nations and competing alongside some of the world’s greatest athletes was an unforgettable experience. My anticipation for the opening ceremony was high.”
After gaining muscle while a student at MIT, Toro Arana moved up to the open-weight class and raced in eight- and four-woman boats. During her time off from school in Puerto Rico, she rowed with a club and gave single sculling a shot.
I rolled over several times, but I was fine,” she said. “It’s a nice, comfortable temperature in there.”
The Olympic Games Are Near!
When Puerto Rico was unable to send a full boat to the Olympics, she saw her chance to compete as a single sculler and decided to train for it. She started Stanford University’s medical school in 2016 and has been working out daily before courses.
She enjoyed being on the lake and in the wild. I used to enjoy getting up early and seeing the sunrise from the bay.
She took a year off from school to study the effects of pulmonary valve replacement on patients with tetralogy of Fallot. She moved to Miami to get computer training after accepting the job. She worked with coaches in Miami and Italy throughout the 2020-2021 academic year as she took a leave of absence from Stanford to prepare for the Olympics.
She gushed about how much she values Stanford’s accommodating policies and the value it places on athletics.
The March competition in Rio de Janeiro paid off, as she qualified for one of five single-sculling women from the Americas berths.
‘I pushed it to this level because I wanted to represent Puerto Rico in a sport in which no Puerto Rican woman had competed before,’ she explained.
The semi-finals are here
Toro Arana competed in the 2,000-meter women’s single scull event at the Olympics, and she advanced to the semifinals. “As an athlete, there’s always room for improvement, but I’m still pleased with my performance,” she remarked. Out of 32 contestants, she came in at #22.
This upcoming fall, she will be back on the Stanford campus to continue her medical rotations. She emphasised that “medical school” was her primary focus at the moment. Due to the high demand for cardiothoracic surgeons, she may have to wait several years before she can begin her training.
In 2023, if the time is right for her pursuit of a medical career and her participation on a team boat at the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador, she plans to do so. Another goal of hers is to create a park in her hometown where more people may learn to row. The development of the sport on the island is something she is passionate about.
She has no Intention of Giving up Recreational Rowing.
In a single, “it’s extremely quiet, and there’s this entire notion about becoming one with the boat,” she explained. “It’s an exemplary display of both extreme effort and refined skill. On the water, you seem to float effortlessly.”