RowSource founder and lead blogger Rachel Freedman steers a MM4 40+ for DC Strokes Rowing Club
When you’re a 5’2″ lightweight, coaches don’t jump at the chance to put an oar in your hand. But I fought the system and rowed in competitive masters events for 8 years before sustaining a season-ending injury. Out of the boat, off the water, and tired of feeling like the low woman on the totem pole, I was ready to check out of rowing all together.
Then one off-season I bumped into a friend who was coaching a masters club. He persuaded me to get back on the water the following spring. I wasn’t ready to commit to rowing and racing, so I climbed into the coxswain seat. I made sure to tell everyone that I was rower – who just happened to be coxing. I racked up experience calling sprints and head races from the 9th seat –including five trips down the Charles, five trips to US Masters Nationals, and international experience at the 2013 Outgames in Antwerp.
Then … coaching began with a novice program. I was lucky to have been the recipient of some great coaching in my rowing career up to that point, and was able to cobble together a training plan for the season. I was stoked at the end of that first year when two of my novice guys won seat races for spots in a masters eight for Head of the Charles.
Since 2010 I’ve completed US Rowing Level I and II coaching certifications, coached high school crews, coached and developed long-term training plans for masters novice, club, and competitive programs, as well as winter training programs.
Over the past 19 years – since the day I started a Learn to Row class at age 23 – I’ve come to understand rowing from the perspective of a masters club rower. I didn’t come up through a collegiate program. I can’t claim experience with highly-acclaimed programs in Boston, Philly, California, or Washington state. I don’t hold degrees in exercise science or sports psychology.
What I do offer, is a passion for overall health and fitness, developing athletic talent, supporting personal and team goals, and having fun on the water while we do it.
There’s always more to learn. Take the journey with me!