Born: August 3, 1988
Lauren Schmetterling was born August 3, 1988 in Voorhees and grew up in Moorestown. Her parents, Eric and Lorie, encouraged her to consider rowing because she was tall and powerful, as well as being focused and goal-oriented. Lauren began at age 14 in a local program, mostly to be with her friends and spend time on the water. She quickly distinguished herself as an elite-level high-school rower.
Lauren attended Colgate on an athletic scholarship and continued to evolve physically and mentally toward world-class status. She was competitive yet flexible, which made her a popular among teammates. Basically, she could blend her skills with anyone.
After graduation in 2010, Lauren continued to train in Boston at the Riverside Boat Club under Tom Keister. She improved her overall fitness and technique, along with her single and small-boat skills. Two years later she was invited to the national training center in Princeton. In 2012, she finished first in the Open Single Sculls and Double Sculls at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta.
Lauren was a member of the gold-winning Women’s Eight team at the 2013 and 2014 World Championships. In 2015, she was named U.S. Rowing Fan’s Choice National team Athlete of the Year. She made the heavily favored Women’s Eight Olympic team in 2016, hoping to add a third straight Olympic gold medal to the team’s resume.
In Rio, Lauren—along with Eleanor Logan, Amanda Elmore, Tessa Gobbo, Meghan Musnicki, Emily Regan, Amanda Polk, Kerry Simmonds and coxswain Katelin Snyder—propelled the Women’s Eight team to victory in the final, edging England by 2.5 seconds with a time of 6:01.49. Romania finished third. Lauren became just the third Colgate grad to win an Olympic medal. The first was hurdler Frank Castleman in St. Louis in 1904. The second was Dick McGlynn, an ice hockey player, who won silver in 1972.
Lauren appeared on the Today Show after her victory, and got to meet Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Bubba Watson, who were also guests that day. She and her parents stayed to watch other events, and she felt a kinship with the athletes who had trained as hard as she had to win gold in other sport. After returning to the U.S. she was among the athletes feted at the White House by the Obamas and Joe Biden.
In 2017, Lauren’s best finish in national meets was second in the Single Sculls at the Spring Speed Order 1 Regatta. Lauren lives and trains in Princeton.