By Madison Thompson —
The novice women’s rowing team held the first information meeting of the season for potential novice rowers Aug. 24. Students received a to-do list and were introduced to the sport of rowing by the novice team’s head coach Hannah Ritter.
Members of the varsity team also were present and spoke about their experiences through rowing. Many of them spoke about the family the rowing team created for them, as well as the benefits of becoming a part of the women’s rowing team.
After the meeting, Ritter spoke about what this sport means, what it means to be a part of the team and what potential rowers can expect.
“It’s the ultimate team sport. It’s unlike a lot of other sports in that you’re not just an individual on a field playing a role. You’re a definitive component, a unit of a whole,” Ritter said. “You all have to move a boat together, and the more in sync you are, the better the boat is going to go. They’re going to come on and expect to be part of a team in a way that they never have before.”
Tryouts begin Sept. 5.
“Tryouts are going to be a lot more land based … It’s going to be a lot of circuit style training, a lot of running and everything that we can make a race, we’re going to, because that’s what rowing is. It’s head to head racing. It’s better to get into that mindset from day one of novice,” Ritter said.
The team not only executes a unique sport, but also is made up of a unique group of women. A third of the women got their start from the novice team.
“We have about 50 girls on the team right now and about 16 of them started as novice walk-ons their freshman year with no rowing experience at all,” Ritter said. “The rest of the girls were recruited and come from all over the world. We have girls from the Czech Republic, one girl from Germany, two girls from France and then we have girls from all over the U.S., as well as a lot of kids from Kentucky and Indiana,”
Now that the season is starting up, Ritter offers advice for potential novice rowers.
“Trust that you’re tough enough,” Ritter said. “A lot of times, you get into rowing and school and you feel very overwhelmed. You just have to trust that you’re capable,” said Ritter. “I think this is one of the most special rowing teams in the country. I think that the (varsity) head coach Derek Copeland is really doing something special with this group from the novices all the way through to varsity. If anyone is even an inkling of trying rowing that they should definitely come to tryouts and give it a shot because you’ll never know unless you try.”
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Photo by Madison Thompson / The Louisville Cardinal