500 Meters to Row

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500 Meters to Row

Kayla Briceño and Kevin Sittner

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Rowing, a competitive or recreational sport that involves the propelling forces of an oar to move the boat, has become a neglected and depreciated athletic program. The North Bay Rowing Club, in which some of the students on our campus participate, has recently begun their fall season in early September. Their rigorous weekly workout regimen typically consists of two to three water days where they go out on the Petaluma River and train, or one to two land days where the athletes will perform drills on the ergometer machines, lift weights, and run longer distances to maintain both upper and lower body strength.

    The overall physical, mental, and team dynamic of rowing is often overlooked, as one of the common misconceptions regarding the sport is that rowing only takes exceptional arm strength. While it is true that successful rowers have strong arms, the sport also requires many other vital skills. Each individual athlete is expected to have a focused and positive mentality toward the sport and their fellow teammates. The physical endurance, strength, and flexibility are important of course; however, the athlete’s ability to recognize that they rely on their teammates and their teammates rely on them is the most important aspect of the sport. Ultimately the sense of cadence, coordination, and timing that rowing demands of its competitors is unrivaled by any other team sport and reinforces the importance of team unity.

    Often perceived as a sport most frequently enjoyed by the community’s upper class, the magnitude of rowing’s expenses is largely due to the costly nature of regatta passes that allow athletes to utilize waterways for practice and competition, combined with the costs of purchasing and repairing equipment. Yet, the costly nature of the sport does not deter an economically diverse batch of individuals from competing and is outweighed by the benefits to be reaped by those involved. Senior Presley Nicely articulates the accessible, inclusive nature of rowing leagues in spite of the hefty price tag synonymous with the sport.

    “[A common misconception that the public will have] is that it’s just for rich people… [rowing is] just something that’s expensive, so it helps but you don’t have to be rich. You can just put in the effort and save up for it. [You] get to meet a lot of people there, so you have a network of people that you know.” said Nicely.

    Whether one is experiencing the rigor of preparatory group workouts or the individual euphoria of finishing a race or breaking a personal record in doing so, rowers experience an immense sense of accomplishment as they are able to not only celebrate their successes with their peers but advance their skills with each race they take part in. Senior Hannah Cooper expresses the most rewarding components of the sport and the pleasures of building a group of supportive team players.

    “Races like regionals [are rewarding], because all of our hard work [pays off]. We did pretty well, and it was fun to watch everyone go by,” said Cooper. “We had a boat go to nationals, which was awesome. Then we had a boat get first, it was our freshman squad, so that was fun. It’s a really fun team sport, and you really bond with the team and meet a lot of new people. It’s something really cool to be out on the Petaluma River. It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever done before.”

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