Give rowing a try, they said. You might be able to get a college scholarship out of it, they said.
Sometimes they're right. In this case, listening to that advice paid off to the tune of two world championships.
Kristine O'Brien, a Massapequa Park native, captured a second gold medal last month at the World Championships in Austria as a member of Team USA's under-23 rowing team.
Her women's eight boat completed the course in 6 minutes, 16.81 seconds, three seconds ahead of Great Britain, to defend its title July 28. The U.S. men's lightweight sculls also won gold.
"Never in a million years did I think I could represent the country in anything," said O'Brien, 21, who also was a member of last year's championship squad. "I'm still amazed."
O'Brien can put the medals with the two NCAA titles she won at the University of Virginia, and the three first-team All-American plaques, and the 2012 Collegiate Rower of the Year award . . . if there's room.
"Before college, I couldn't have even imagined achieving such success in this sport," she said. "But once you get the first [championship], it's like, 'We're not going to not win this again.' "
To think she was focused on volleyball and hadn't rowed -- not even recreationally -- until her freshman year at St. John the Baptist High School. It was then that her parents, Stephen and Kathleen, urged her to try a new sport and join the school's rowing club.
She excelled, earning a scholarship to UVA, from which she graduated this spring.
"I played a lot of sports growing up, but in rowing I found my niche," said O'Brien, who goes through a grueling, seven-day training regimen. "It's tough, but it's something I grew to love and I'm good at."
Good enough to have Olympic aspirations. She will try out in September for the senior national team.