26 strokes per minute

Rowing is kicking into high gear; I officially signed up to be a full-time member, and I couldn’t be happier about my decision to do so. The more I row, the more I wish I had started earlier, or at least tried it in high school or college. I could’ve walked on to the team at NU, but the 5am practices were much too daunting for me at the time. I’m glad that I started here and also so glad that they offered times that weren’t just early in the morning. I needed to get hooked before committing to the early morning times.

I’m learning all about the different kinds of boats, the lingo, the positions, the seats, and I’m loving it. There are two different types of competitive rowing: sweeping (where you’re holding one oar in your hand), and sculling (where you’re holding an oar in each hand). Primarily I’ve been doing a lot of sweeping in an eight (eight people and eight oars), but they’ve also started putting me in some smaller boats. Yesterday was my first time rowing in a 4+, which is when you’re sweeping with only four people. It was so much fun. Our boat worked so well together and I really felt like I was working hard. Our coach told us that we had some swing, which is when you’re rowing so well that you’re all perfectly in sync, and I could feel part of that throughout the night.

I also keep getting placed in the stroke seat (which is the person in the front that everyone is looking at and following). Front and back of the boat gets confusing because you’re always looking at where you’ve been, while your back is facing where you’re going. The bow is technically the front of the boat, the part that crosses the finish line first, while the stern is the back. Stroke seat is the seat in the stern. Being stroke seat is a ton of fun and works well for my personality because I like to be in charge and lead the pack. Stroke seat is the one that is setting the pace and is expected to be able to hit certain paces and maintain them, leading everyone behind them. In a sense it puts pressure on me, because I need know how fast I am going and keep it extremely consistent so everyone can follow me, but on the other hand, it puts pressure on everyone else because it means that they all need to follow me.

There’s a regatta (race) coming up on November 5th, and I’ve already signed up for it. I am so excited to have officially signed up for a race, and can’t wait to be placed in a boat with a set lineup and really start practicing with the group I’ll be racing with. It’s going to be a ton of fun, and maybe I’ll have some friends visiting, or even a fan club (you never know!), but everyone will know this is happening.

I think I’ll be rowing for a long time, at least the next year or so, and hopefully I’ll be work hard enough to earn a trip to the Head of the Charles in October (of an upcoming year).

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