STORRS, Conn. – Nine of 11 freshmen, including Kaitlyn May and Emily Woodrow, got their first taste of collegiate rowing on October 2nd when UConn competed in the Head of the Riverfront on the Connecticut River.
May and Woodrow are both excited to begin a collegiate career in rowing, but understand their freshman year of college is no easy task. The freshmen started off their time at UConn with the challenges of the rowing preseason.
“It was hard waking up early at first and adjusting to the very intense practices,” said May, of Simsbury, Conn. However, the preseason was not without its benefits for the freshmen rowers. “It allowed me to fully adjust to the team,” said Woodrow, who comes to UConn from Ambler, Pa.
The freshman group debuted in the 2016-17 opening race, and May and Woodrow were among them. May competed in the UConn ‘B’ boat in the Open 8+ and in the Open Novice 4+. Woodrow was also in the Open Novice 4+.
The other seven freshmen appeared in the UConn ‘C’ and ‘D’ boats in the Open 8+, as well as the ‘D’ boat in the Open 4+.
The first race was a strong start for UConn rowing. The team had one boat finish first in the Open 2x and three others place second. The freshmen already made an impact, with a sixth place finish in the UConn ‘D’ boat in the Open 8+. Erika Yao, Eleanor Dowd, Caroline Richman, Lauren Knapp and Victoria Salai were the participating freshmen in that boat.
Freshman year also brings challenges not just related to being a college athlete, but getting used to campus life as well. “It’s been difficult at times getting used to UConn. The first day of class I walked into the wrong classroom as a discussion was occurring and everyone turned and looked at me,” said Woodrow.
“I am still shocked with how much walking I do!” added May.
Despite the challenges, the freshmen rowers have felt welcome on the team. “Never once have I felt an upperclassmen/underclassmen divide; no one on the team believes they’re better or more important than anyone else. Although it is cliché, the team truly does feel like one big family,” said May.
May and Woodrow certainly feel they are ready to contribute to the group. “I feel the freshman class will contribute a hard working mentality and will always strive to be better,” said Woodrow.
May had similar feelings to Woodrow, saying, “I feel the freshman class can make a huge impact on the UConn rowing team. We had some incredibly strong and talented girls join the team this year and I can’t wait to see more of what we can do. I’m so excited and honored to be a part of it.”
Rowing looks forward to its next race on October 22nd and 23rd at the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass. Head of the Schuylkill shortly follows that on the 29th in Philadelphia.