Women’s rowing features athletes from across the pond

Women’s rowing competes on the water. The team is comprised of women from all over the world, including New Zealand, Greece and the U.S.

Katie Morton, Practicum Contributor

OSU places seventh at Pac-12 Championships, Varsity 8, Varsity 4+ recieve sixth.

Oregon State University’s women’s rowing team consists of athletes whose hometowns range from Auckland, New Zealand and Athens, Greece to Eugene, Oregon.

OSU women’s rowing team, comprised of 32 athletes, continues to expand their roster both with experienced athletes and those simply interested in the sport of rowing. 

OSU placed seventh overall at the Pac-12 Championships Sunday with Varsity 8 and Varsity 4+ both recieved sixth place finishes.

This is Varsity 8’s second straight sixth place finish.

Head Coach Kate Maxim, who has been coaching rowing for 14 years, had one of her past walk-on rowers, Devery Karz, go on to compete in the 2016 Olympics.  

“Having been the walk on recruiter before, I know that there are outstanding athletes walking around on campus,” Maxim said. “Many of those that could potentially go on and have an olympic career. I had a walk on here that competed in the 2016 Olympics.”

Claire Diller, third-year rower in the Second Varsity 8 boat, was a product of the walk-on program. The walk-on program is a course offered through OSU where people try out for two weeks to see if they would be a good fit with the sport. Diller is majoring in mechanical engineering.  

“The hardest part of being a walk-on is that there’s this huge learning curve. I came on not knowing what rowing even was,” Diller said. “So not only did I have to physically train, I had to learn about the sport. Then just becoming part of the team was something I needed to work on.”

Sophomore rower Abigail Watts is from New Zealand and has been rowing since high school.  Watts raced in the 2-seat of the Varsity 8, helping OSU to first place finishes in the Collegiate 8 division.  She is one of three New Zealanders, otherwise known as Kiwis, on the team. 

“I chose Oregon State because it is geographically similar to New Zealand,” Watts said. “There were some Kiwis on the team as well so it really helped my decision in the transition over here that I wasn’t going to be the only Kiwi.”

The team practices six days a week. On three of those days, they practice twice. 

“The hard work. It’s showing up every day whether you want to or not and getting it done,” Watts said. “It’s good fun but it is hard. It’s harder when you’re by yourself but when you have the team and you have people relying on you, then it’s easier.”

Diller enjoys the hard work and the adrenaline rush from racing. 

“I love the community aspect of the team,” Diller said. “We don’t necessarily have to be best friends but we are bonded through the work. We know how hard we’re working and we appreciate each other for that.”

Maxim said the most important part of rowing on a team is having a synchronicity with the other athletes. 

“I think this sport is pretty humbling whether you’re an athlete or a coach and it takes a special person to see it through,” Maxim said. “It definitely pulls the best and worst of you out at the same time and for me, if they’re becoming stronger, more empowered, more insightful, respectful, thoughtful individuals for the long run, then that’s what fuels me.”

For more information on how to get involved for fall term with women’s rowing, visit OSU’s catalog of Physical Activity Classes, otherwise known as PAC, or go the OSUBeavers.com.

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