Image Courtesy of The Catholic University of America
By Anthony Curioso
Ashley Reardon, a freshman psychology major, shared her experience with the women’s rowing team at CUA.
Catholic University’s rowing teams have gained a reputation on campus for their early morning practices, competitive nature, consistent success in races, and the lifelong friendships that have formed among members of the teams.
Reardon is on the “novice” team for women’s rowing because she had never rowed before coming to CUA.
“I played field hockey and lacrosse in high school, and I wanted to play field hockey in college but that didn’t end up happening,” Reardon explained. “When my mom saw an advertisement for novice women’s rowing and it said ‘no experience necessary’, I was overjoyed.”
One of the most important lessons Reardon has learned so far has been the importance of settling into a routine.
“I set my alarm for 4:15 am to give me plenty of time to get ready; we’re at the vans at 5:35 to go to the boathouse; practice starts at 6:00 and we get back right before LCs,” she said. “Everything is in the mornings, which is nice because I can do whatever I want in the afternoon. I can chill. I’ve got time for homework.”
Having a routine is nothing new for Reardon, who balanced many activities growing up.
“Having accountability with my fellow rowers so we’re all in bed at a certain time or all up by a certain time helps us so we have enough energy to do things the next day,” she said.
Contrary to the common experience among many college freshmen, Reardon did not have any issues with making friends whatsoever.
“A lot of my friends are also on the rowing team by accident, and what we will do is we will take other people who we are friends with who are not rowers and we will kinda drag them into being a rower. Even though we aren’t necessarily practicing rowing we are still hanging out together.”
Reardon also noted that she is extremely social, so as soon as she makes eye contact with someone, she will go up to them and say hello.
“You meet people in the most random of ways,” Reardon remarked. “Over time, one person introduces you to another person, who introduces you to another person, so on and so forth.”
Reardon encourages anyone who thinks they may want to try rowing to “take the gamble and do it.”
“It’s so much fun, we don’t get wet despite it being a water sport, which is convenient, and we get beautiful views of the Anacostia River,” Reardon said. “A lot of high school and college sports teams have extremely toxic team cultures, but we really don’t have that here; everyone is super loving and supportive. The team culture on the rowing team is incredibly strong and we are all a close–knit family. Putting yourself in that situation as a freshman in college is one of the best things you can do.”
CUA’s women’s rowing teams competed at the Head of the Charles in Boston and Cambridge, MA, on October 22 and the Head of the Schuylkill in Philadelphia, PA, on October 28; their next races will be the Head of the Occoquan in Fairfax, VA, on November 4 and the Frostbite Regatta in West Winsor, NJ, on November 11.