Rowing is more than a sport to brothers Mark and Fred Borchelt. It's a lifestyle.
For the better part of 11 years, the two have trained diligently to gain a spot among the nation's elite oarsmen.
Their travels have taken them to the Olympics, world championships, titles at Henley and the U.S. nationals. But never have they worked harder than in their current pursuit of the gold medal for the premier straight pair in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
"It's a lifestyle, really, after 10 years," said Fred, 24, who works as a patent examiner with the U.S. Patent Office. "Mark doesn't use an alarm clock. Don't think it's easy getting up each morning at 5:30. And then (after practice) we have to go to work, earn money to support yourself, we would be a lot better.
"It gets to be a routine after awhile. It's easier on Mark, he doesn't go out a lot. He has his family; he stays up with them. It sort of puts a damper on my social life (being single). But if you want to compete, you have to take it seriously. You need that eight hours sleep. Five-thirty minus eight hours is 9:30 (p.m.)."
"I feel if I'm away from training for more than three of four days, I can't sleep at night," said Mark, 28, a congressional administrative aide for the Joint Economic Committee.
The Borchelts-Fred is 6.5 and weighs 195 pounds and mark is 6.3, 195-are alumni of T.C. Williams High School who now live in Arlington and row out of the Potomac boat club.
They did not start rowing seriously together until 1975, although they were separated when Fred went to the 1976 Olympics in Montreal as a member of the U.S. coxed four and Mark made the trip as an alternate for parts.
The brothers have now established themselves at the top pair in the nation. At the 1978 world championships in New Zealand, they served notice to the International rowing community by finishing sixth.
"It was the first time we made the finals (internationally)," said Mark, who is married with two children. His wife, Ruth Ann, is expecting a third. "To get there, we had to beat three other crews that were of finals caliber."
Fred, a Rutgers graduate, said that two have done more training together "than any boat has in the past four or five years. That is an advantage in terms of compatibility."
"I guess as a pair, Fred and I have more experience than anybody in the country," said Mark, a George Mason University alumnus. "If I didn't have an opportunity to row with my brother in a pair, I don't think I would have wanted to spend the time away from my family. Being on top of the pack in the country has been a motivating force, but rowing with my brother has been a great motivating force the last year and a half."
The next step for the Borchelts, who won the 1975 Steward's Cup for coxed fours at Henley with fellow T.C. Williams grad Chip Lubsen, is the U.S. nationals in Worcester, Mass., July 13-15. There they must earn their ticket to Bled, Yugoslavia, for the world championships in September.