Rowing president earns her stripes at the helm

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During high school, junior Ellie Meyer was not into sports. In the spring of 2011, this changed. Ellie joined the rowing team at St. Edward’s University because she thought rowing was something different and would be fun to do in college. She liked the idea of relying on a team in a setting where having an MVP is virtually impossible. After three semesters of rowing, Ellie is now the club’s president and wants to bring renown to her club.

Shelby Sementelli: What do your duties as president entail?

Ellie Meyer: Basically, my job is to delegate and make sure everyone is enjoying the team and enjoying the community. We do not just want to be a team that practices together; we want to be a group of friends that row together. I also choose which regattas to attend and make the choices that are too little for the whole team to make.

SS: Where and when are the rowing team’s practices, and what are they like?

EM: We practice on Town Lake. It is really awesome because we get to see the sun rise. We practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. A lot of rowing teams do mostly erg (machine rowing) workouts, and getting in the water is only a treat. We do not work that way. We like to be out on the water pretty much the whole time. If it is raining, we will do a land workout.

SS: How do people get involved? Does your club hold tryouts?

EM: We thought we would have to have tryouts because we had about 100 people sign up at the involvement fair. Twenty-eight ended up coming out to practice, so we did not have to have tryouts. We basically have a “learn to row” week each semester. Anyone can come out and decide if it is something they want to do.

SS: If you could row in any body of water, where would you choose?

EM: Honestly, I love Town Lake. It is a really pretty place to row, and I am so happy we row there. It does not freeze in the winter; it is wide and beautiful. Competitive rowers from the northeast even come to Town Lake when their rivers freeze.

SS: What is the coldest water you have ever rowed in?

EM: Last February in the Winter Warrior regatta, we did an 8-kilometer row from Redbud Island past Mopac to Fire Island past I-35. It was in the 20s outside. It was crazy. Nobody warmed up the entire time.

SS: Which competitions does the rowing club do?

EM: We try to attend two regattas each semester. We went to Waco this past weekend and had our most successful regatta as a team ever. Later this semester, we will compete in the Pumpkin Head regatta here in Austin. In the fall we compete in long distance races, but in the spring we have much shorter races. We are for sure competing in the Heart of Texas regatta in Austin and one more that I have yet to decide out of town.

SS: What are your goals for the rowing team?

EM: I want to work on keeping members and making sure they join again in the spring. I would really like to win some golds in the Pumpkin Head and in the spring. We have never won a team gold before, only in individual races. Also, I want to make a name for our club. Rugby and lacrosse are club sports, and everyone knows about them. I want everyone to know about us, too.