Over the last three-plus years, the feeling has been mutual.
Virginia rowing coach Kevin Sauer said the fourth-year co-captain from Buckinghamshire, England has a rare quality.
What separates Long from other rowers, according to Sauer, is her motor.
It never stops.
This was on display during a duathlon that Sauer conducted before fall break. Team members had to row 4,000 meters on rowing machines, then exit Slaughter Recreation Center and run up nearby Observatory Hill.
Sauer had just gotten to the bottom of the hill in his truck when he saw Long racing to the finish, with no other teammates in sight.
“She’s like flat-out sprinting,” Sauer recalled. “It was like the Olympic final or something.”
Which, given Long’s ambitions, was apropos.
Long, who last summer won a silver medal in the women’s pair for Great Britain at the World Under-23 Championships in Poland, has dreams of representing Great Britain at the Olympics.
Sauer compares Long’s inner drive to that of former UVA star Kristine O’Brien, who has gone on to great success representing the U.S. on the world stage. “She goes after it with every ounce of her being, every fiber,” Sauer said. “A kid like that doesn’t come around a lot. They are few and far between. Not a whole lot of people are wired that way and are able to push themselves that hard.”
But Sauer said there is so much more to Long than what she is able to do athletically.
Long, who is double-majoring in biology and cognitive science, was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll in each of her first three years at UVA.