Pause at the Release is our periodic feature in which we highlight the perspective of one of our student-athletes. In these articles, the athletes share their personal experiences as part of the Golden Hurricane team with our wonderful supporters and community members. Here, you'll find the backstage story on TU Women's Rowing, told through the eyes of the athletes themselves. Check back often to see updates from more of your favorite rowers and coxswains.
Pause at the Release: That Was Fast
In the seven weeks since we moved to Tulsa, we've spent about 128 hours practicing with the team--on the river, in the weight room, doing sprints on the football field, erging...you get the picture. But even though this seems like a lot of time to prepare, race day always comes more quickly than you expect.
Our first collegiate race ever was in bow pair of the 2V8--a place in the boat familiar to both of us! Feeling like baby frosh in the bow, we followed the lead of our experienced teammates, who represent exactly what we want to become in our next four years at TU. Being bow pair for this particular race gave us an advantage: we could look forward through the boat as we warmed up and got ready to race, seeing each member of our team get ready to push themselves to the edge for each other. We saw the focus, the power, and the determination, and it inspired us to do the same. After we warmed up, we stopped at the start, passed up a fist-pump, and before we knew it, our first collegiate race had begun.
And let us say that was the fastest boat we have raced in our lives. From the bow, we watched stroke after powerful stroke as we sped down the racecourse. We saw each oar send us further and further forward. Just as quickly as it had begun, we completed our first milestone: our first college race as student-athletes at The University of Tulsa. All of our teammates turned around to congratulate us with cheers at the finish line. We felt even more a part of the team than ever before.
After our first race, we got the opportunity to race again in the all-frosh Four. This race was even more fun because we had raced already, so we weren't nervous and could just go out, quit "thinking too hard" (as Coach Harris told us the day before in practice), race hard, and see where we ended up against the other boats. And that race was thrilling. Being able to relax and trust ourselves to race hard in the Four paid off with results better than we could have hoped: a 4th-place finish in the Collegiate 4+ event.
Those races, being so powerful with less than a week of practicing in sweep boats, much less in lineups, have made us even more excited for what is to come this weekend, this spring, and the rest of our college careers. The strength and spirit of our team is already so unbelievably strong, it's that much more exciting to see how it will grow even stronger come springtime. If that much can be accomplished in such a short time, what else might be possible alongside our teammates throughout the coming years? A whole lot, and we can't wait.
Madeline Lyons and Paige Hibbard
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