Come the fall, four senior girls from Port Rowing, Julianna Franklin, Perry McLoughlin, Samantha Angel and Olivia Morin, will join Division I programs across the country. In recent interviews, each of the girls spoke about their experiences on our local team and what Port Rowing meant to them.
More than anything else, the girls attributed Port’s rigorous training schedule to their mental endurance. Practicing daily at 5 a.m., Julianna Franklin, for example, says the sport had improved her resilience like no other, and without it, she simply wouldn’t have the drive to be on top of her school work. It wasn’t just the timing of these practices either; it was the intensity. Spending hours a day on the water, Franklin felt as if she had trained well past her breaking points. And although it may sound cruel, it’s exactly what’ll help her and the rest of these girls later on.
As Franklin puts it, “I am now prepared to row through any rough waters in life,” and she plans on taking that attitude to the University of Alabama, where she’ll be studying on a Pre-Law track.
But rowing was just as much personal for these girls as it was social. When put in a boat with nine others, they all agreed a special connection had formed. Each of them attributed the physically close, high-pressure environment to fostering cooperation and communication on the next level, and that was especially true for Perry McLoughlin, who was her boat’s coxswain/leader. Starting this position as a freshman, McLoughlin realized that having strong relationships with her teammates was not just facilitative, but necessary to her boat’s success. So after three years of developing these friendships, she’s happy to say that those she had rowed with had become her best friends, and all of them were able to share their successes together.
“I am infinitely grateful for each connection I have made through this program,” she said in her interview, and she looks forward to seeing a similar pattern occur at the University of Washington-Seattle.
The athletes also mentioned Port Rowing’s unmatched inclusivity, best shown by the team’s openness to all types of students, sports-playing or not. Samantha Angel, for example, had spent years juggling three sports, yet still hadn’t found her passion in any of them. So, on a bit of a whim, she decided to row, and by the time her first-week blisters had healed, she was in love with both the sport and the program. She claims the immediate kindness she received, on top of the camaraderie she observed, was what helped spark the switch. Of course, she expects nothing less up at Boston University when rowing on the Charles.
Olivia Morin shared similar sentiments as she too was a multi-sport athlete before joining her junior year. And again, she was shocked by the unwavering support from her coaches and teammates during her first couple of months, and not once did she feel out of place. This impression went a long way, for she’ll be continuing her career at the University of Virginia, a powerhouse in women’s rowing.
Individual experiences aside, rowing has historically been a safe haven for female athletes. As one of the first sports to offer opportunities to women, it quickly became a driving force behind the gender equality movement in athletics. Today, women’s rowing has the highest ratio of collegiate scholarships to high school participants of any sport. Thus, if anyone is interested in joining this amazing team (male or female), check out www.portrowing.org for more information.