Once upon a time, I had a cross training coach for synchro who told me I needed to try kayaking. This man had a huge impact on my life at the time, so I decided to listen to him! I took a recreational kayaking class Port Credit. That’s where my kayaking career ended though, outside of the occasional paddle at a friend’s cottage lol. Cue freshman year. I didn’t make the water polo team at Mac, and while I still had synchro, pool time was limited and I wanted something else. The following year I tried out for the rowing team knowing absolutely nothing about rowing, but having Coach Ken’s voice in the back of my head. Yes, yes, I realize now that rowing and kayaking are nothing alike, but at the time I just saw boats and paddles and figured they couldn’t be that far off! Naïve. I know.
There was a mass tryout held out front of the Ivor Wynne Centre for rookie rowers. We were given a brief lesson on how to use an erg, and then just hoped on them in heats and went for it! There were A LOT of girls at the tryout and I was pretty nervous about my odds. We had rowing team members hanging over our shoulder the whole time reading a monitor that was absolute jibberish to me. When I finished however, I knew the jibberish must’ve read in my favour because I had multiple members of the rowing team standing around me.
I rowed for McMaster for a few seasons until the demands of rowing started to conflict with the demands of synchro. I had to make a choice.
I picked up rowing again when I learned about the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s summer Row for Heart program shortly after I lost my Dad to a heart attack in April of 2009. I have only missed one season since then and I’m gearing up for the 2013 Row for Heart regatta on Saturday!
My Dad loved that I rowed. He was happy that I was a swimmer too, but I’m pretty sure there is a limit to how excited dads can get about synchro lol. When I made the team he gave me the money to buy my the club’s optional “McMaster Crew” jacket because he was proud of me.
I row every summer because I still want to be connected to the sport of rowing, and because I want to pay tribute to my Dad by supporting the research of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He was taken far too soon, but hopefully advances in cardio research, and more access to educational tools, can prevent it from happening to others.
Should the waves move you, please feel free to drop by my personal donation page. If you’re in the Hamilton area on Saturday, drop by Leander Boat Club any time between 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for the Row for Heart regatta!