That I became a rower at all in college was purely by chance. I happened to be sitting next to a good friend in the library. We were studying for finals. At some point, she mentioned something about rowing for the University. She was a coxswain (the person who yells at everyone) for the newly formed University of Denver Rowing Club. It was, and continues to be, a club open to anyone regardless of his/her prior experience rowing. For some reason, I was convinced that rowing was a sport I needed to pursue.
I had a lot to learn. Even though most of the team had less than two years of experience rowing, everyone seemed to have a much better understanding of the sport than I did. Lucky for me, they were all friendly and ready to help me when I needed help. Throughout March and April, my mornings consisted of 6AM practices at Cherry Creek Reservoir. I feared that this would get exhausting after awhile, but the team was full of energetic and fun loving people who made waking up before the sunrise enjoyable! Everyone was dedicated, focused and passionate about growing as a team and as rowers for the University of Denver.
After a few months of cold early morning practices, the day finally arrived when DU Club Rowing flew to Georgia for the team’s first spring race. It was DU’s first appearance in the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) Regatta. After a lengthy delay at DIA and a few glitches at the rental car company and hotel, the team was in Georgia. Though tired from the previous night’s travel, the excitement and stimulation of the regatta energized the team. Rowing programs from across the country had congregated at the site of the 1996 Olympic rowing venue to race for the title of ACRA Champion.
Everything about the trip was an amazing experience. The actual race was unlike any event I had ever participated in. Adrenaline rushed over my body as my boat raced among seven other teams down a 2,000-meter course. The early morning practices of the preceding months paid off as my quad rowed beautifully together. Our women’s quad and our men’s double rowed exceptionally as well. It was an amazing experience for the entire team.
The takeaway from my experience rowing this season is this: Spontaneity can lead to extremely fulfilling experiences. When my friend told me that she rowed, I took that as an opportunity to add an entirely new component to my life. True, initially, I had no reason to believe that rowing would be a necessary addition to my already busy college life. In fact, during the first few weeks, I felt like I was treading water; constantly getting bogged down in the technique and intricacies of rowing. More importantly, however, in three months, I went from rowing for my first time, to racing at a national competition. Spontaneity allowed me to explore new things, meet new people and invigorate my college experience. The University of Denver Rowing Club has been, and will continue to be, a great experience!
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Trevor Ford - Communication Fellow