On the Water

Sophomore Caitlin Flanagan describes her addiction to rowing.

Olivia Eaton, Cub Reporter

The typical teenager would cringe at the idea of waking up at 6 a.m. to work out for an hour and a half and then row in a boat for two more hours, this does not describe sophomore Caitlin Flanagan. She is a part of the Lake Oswego Community Rowing team, a sport that is slowly starting to gain popularity.

Flanagan comes from a very active family. Her parents do two to three running races each year. Last year her father ran a 100 kilometer race, and between them they have done seven Iron Mans. Racing is so much a part of their lives that her father has a tattoo of the Iron Man symbol on his leg. Her brother has been doing soccer for seven years and has been playing year round for three. Flanagan herself went to the state competition for swimming, competing in the 50 meter butterfly.

Despite this accomplishment, Flanagan decided to branch off from what her family was doing and join a sport her family knew almost nothing about. She joined LOCR the summer before her freshman year and is now a Varsity rower, a little over a year later.

“We were in Michigan and I was in the water in one of my uncle’s kayaks and I was trying to go as fast as I could and I was just kind of like, ‘I wonder if I’d be good at rowing?’” said Flanagan. “When we got back we found a beginner class and I haven’t really stopped since.”

Her mother told her that she would be good at it, because she had strong upper arms from doing swimming for so long, she said.

“Usually with a team sport, like soccer or something, you have different positions, there are different jobs, but with rowing that isn’t the case. You’re either a rower or a coxswain,” she said.

She enjoys this part of rowing. After doing different team sports throughout her life, she realized that she hated that feeling of being watched. She moved into the sport of rowing where the team wins and loses together, she said.

“Being on the water and going to regattas is what brings the rowers so much enjoyment,” said Flanagan. “The regattas are the big races where lots of teams compete against each other. There is so much time between the races though, so most of the time the rowers and coxswains get to hang out, because they are like a family, anyone who spends that much time together would feel that sense of community.”

But there are downsides to rowing as well. It is a very difficult sport that takes up a lot of time. About half the people that joined at the same time she did quit halfway through the year, she said.

Winter training is what causes a majority of their members to quit, as it is too cold or wet to be on the water so they do long workouts and races on Erg machines, which is a stationary machine that simulates rowing. Flanagan calls the machines “torture devices”.

She has not given up, despite the difficulty of the workouts and the pressure put on by the coaches. Flanagan enjoys the sport too much.

“You go through such physical and mental pain, it makes it worth it,” Flanagan said. “It’s addicting, I guess.”