Rowers enjoy serenity, benefits of sport

December 5, 2014 — by Gwynevere Hunger, Nidhi Jain and Vibha Seshadri

Rowing, though a sport low-profile around campus, plays a crucial role in a several students’ lives. Its most attractive qualities, according to these students, are its meditative effect and rewarding benefits, such as the proud feeling of pushing their physical and mental limits.

The cool water sprays onto senior Alexandria Bauer’s face, which is covered in beads of sweat while she rows with her team members during a race. Her lungs burn each time she strenuously yanks the oars back to her chest. The finish line lies a mere 15 feet away. Fifteen more feet of torturous pain. Fifteen more feet of teamwork. Fifteen more feet until victory.

Rowing, though a sport low-profile around campus, plays a crucial role in a several students’ lives. Its most attractive qualities, according to these students, are its meditative effect and rewarding benefits, such as the proud feeling of pushing their physical and mental limits.

According to Yahoo! Sports, at the collegiate level there has been approximately 2,500 more women participate in the sport now than in 1997. On campus, more students seem to participate in it each year.

A rowing team consists of eight individuals who stroke their paddles in tandem to push the boat across the finish line in the shortest time possible. A coxswain, seated at the head of the rowboat, directs tells them when to row. Awards are only given to the first-place team.

For Bauer, rowing is one of the most important aspects of her life. She recently committed to Loyola Marymount University (LMU), a Division I (D1) school for rowing.

Bauer began rowing in the eighth grade and has stuck with the sport for the past five years. At the Los Gatos Rowing Club, she was nominated the varsity women’s team captain for this season. The team also went to the Rowing Junior Nationals in 2014 and placed in top eight for both the top varsity and top varsity quad teams.

Like other athletes who play team sports, Bauer said, rowers cannot miss practice whenever they want to because “all members must work together in one boat in order to share the same success at the end of the race.”

Starting in the spring semester of her junior year, Bauer emailed college rowing coaches her 2000-meter time in hopes of being recruited.

Bauer specifically targeted DI schools to have a chance at obtaining an athletic scholarship. Although she was offered several scholarships from different colleges, she ended up verbally committing to LMU after visiting the college last October  and earning a scholarship.

During the second week of November, the school sent Bauer its official National Letter of Intent.

Among the other rowers at the school is sophomore Hannah Payne. She began her rowing career at the request of her friend at The Los Gatos Rowing Club, one of the best decisions she said she has ever made.

“I immediately became obsessed with it,” Payne said.

Payne rows for 13 hours a week, two and a half hours a day on the weekdays and three hours on Saturdays. These practices consist of weight lifting as well as running.

Despite the long hours, Payne said the time spent is worth it.

“It’s awesome to see the results of working hard every day and getting stronger,” Payne said.

Payne also enjoys the races. Her team competes in eight races per year against other teams in the Bay Area. Of these races, Payne particularly enjoys the fall tournaments since they are time trials. Time trials consist of individual teams starting the race every 30 seconds. This allows the competitors to improve as a team.

Payne smiled slyly and added “you can [also] watch your competitors lose … is that a mean thing to say?”

Along with Payne, junior Nikitha Arunkumar, who competes in the varsity division, feels that rowing is a unique yet “meditating-like” sport, as the scene on the water is very serene.

Initially, Arunkumar was hesitant to begin the sport in her freshman year, but after one of her peers constantly encouraged her to row, Arunkumar gave in and ended up loving it.

“You work out three hours a day so that keeps you super fit,” Arunkumar said. “I hate exercising, but I like being fit.”

Also, the team Arunkumar is a part of can’t row at Lexington Reservoir because it has low water levels as a result of the state’s drought. Instead, the team heads to Redwood city.

Arunkumar feels that rowing is a sport more young people should try.

“The people are amazing, and it’s like a family,” Arunkumar said. “Everytime you go rowing, you can just forget about your problems.”

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