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Teammates, Family One in the Same for Rowing

Feb. 13, 2017

2017 Spring Schedule | @UConnRowing on Twitter

STORRS, Conn. –
On Friday of this week, the UConn rowing team will be exactly one month away from the beginning of its spring season in Orlando, Fla. – following a strong fall campaign under 20-year head coach Jennifer Wendry.

Leading up to the initial race of the spring, the Huskies continue to share team themes each week that well-represent the culture of the UConn rowing program. This week, several rowers discuss the importance of family and team respect.

“In basketball and field hockey, as in many sports, one star player can carry a team to victory. Rowing is very different,” said freshman Emily Woodrow. “The boat must act as one unit, and we need to trust everyone around us.”

The UConn roster consists of 62 rowers this season, and with sometimes as many as nine in a boat, having team chemistry is crucial to achieve an optimal racing time.

“Everyone comes to practice each day with two goals in mind – work hard and support each other,” said freshman Lauren Knapp. “For the first time in my athletics career, I actually felt I was on a team when I joined UConn rowing.”



The Huskies are not just a team, however; the bond formed between rowers in practice sessions and early-morning workouts transcends that of merely teammates.

“The speed of the boat is based on chemistry and trust between teammates. Without the foundation of family, the boat might lose the extra amount of fight needed to power through a race,” said sophomore Michela Zunino.

Freshman Taylor Evangelista added, “I love this team because it is my family away from home. Everyone gets along and respects each other, which is great for our team dynamic.”

For late additions through the walk-on process, joining the rowing team turned out to be a life-changing experience – being able to compete at the highest collegiate level while gaining a support system.

“As a walk-on, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into, but I think joining this team was the best decision I ever made,” said sophomore Madison Ready. “Being a student-athlete would be nearly impossible without the support and respect from teammates.”

Not only is the togetherness of teammates important to UConn rowing, but the support and work ethic given to each rower by her family at home. The program emphasizes a family environment, with everyone included.

“Family for me is the backup that I can always rely on, when I have a hard time athletically or academically,” said sophomore Julia Schnelting, a native of Germany. “They are important support, always offering help when I’m trying to make a decision.”

At the end of the day, once the Huskies get on the water for their first race on March 17, only their camaraderie with one another will help them achieve their goals for a successful spring.

“When I walked-on last spring, I was overjoyed with all the new friends I was surrounded by. Everyone is incredibly supportive,” said junior Hayley Brant. “With a team like this by my side, anything seems possible.”