Skip to main content Skip to footer
Varsity Eight Ready To Go On Eve Of Championship

Courtney Dawless
May 13, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The University of Connecticut rowing team will compete at the American Athletic Conference championship on Saturday, May 14 in Sacramento, Calif. Leading up to the event, members of the team will write blogs to tell the story of the team.

Friday’s blog is from sophomore Courtney Dawless, a member of the varsity eight boat from West Greenwich, R.I.

The championships will be carried live on The American Digital Network. CLICK HERE for the link. The league also has a Championship Central.

Here is Dawless’ blog:

Is there anything better as a college student than spring break in Miami? Warm weather, beautiful beaches, awesome shopping, delicious restaurants and some great nightlife…or so we are told.

As UConn rowers we did not go to Miami for these things this past spring break, we went to train.

We practiced twice a day, with vigorous eating and napping in between. This is where our spring season began. We had put in all the grueling hard work indoors over winter. After hours on the ergs, miles of running, hundreds of pounds of weights lifted and we were finally on the water. Everyone with the same mindset: “we will win come championships.”

This mindset continued throughout our spring season. Every stroke we took, every race we finished or workout we completed was done with the purpose: to improve. That is to do what we couldn’t achieve yesterday and what we will surpass tomorrow. Today we are here on the other side of the country ready for the the American Athletic Conference championship!

I joined the team my freshman year as a naïve walk-on, not knowing what to expect. Not once did the thought of competing in California as a Division I athlete with some of the strongest, most committed people I will ever know (my teammates) cross my mind.

Almost a week after arriving on the opposite side of the country and this team could not be closer. From the long hours of travel here, having every meal together and demanding final workouts on the water there is a bond that has only gotten stronger. The bond is key because in rowing you can only succeed if everyone is working together and pulling their hardest. There is no relying on one person to make a play. Everyone has to row together and pull hard as a unit. At some point during a race it stops becoming about how I’m exhausted and in pain and it becomes about how much I can give for my teammates.

Although my time on the team has been short, I have seen so much growth and development as a boat and as a team. We are only a day away from the final race of this season and we are still getting stronger with every stroke. The seniors have set the mentality. They are pumped up and ready to give every ounce of their energy and ability into the last race. All that is left to do is to rely on our training and coaching. We are prepared for this 2000 meter opportunity to prove what we as a boat and team can accomplish.

I have viewed the varsity boat from the stroke seat all the way to bow seat and have watched as changes were made and times improved. Without a doubt, this Saturday will be the fastest time this boat has every achieved in 2,000 meters and it will be done with heart and trust in one another.