Rowing club stresses mental toughness

The rowing team at Murray State said most people do not realize what it takes to be a member of such a club.

They said some may think rowing only requires arm strength, rowing is just for the Olympics, or not even realize rowing is a sport at all. But those who are dedicated members of the team think differently.

“It’s a very full body sport,” said Megan Helmer, captain of the women’s team. “Most people think you’re only using your arms because you’re pulling on an oar, but you use absolutely every part of your body from your feet to your head.” Helmer said the sport isn’t as easy as people think it is. She also said rowing is not all about athleticism, wither

“Not all of us are the most athletic on the team, but we work very hard,” Helmer said. “You really need to be strong mentally because it is a very mental sport.”

Helmer said it takes a lot of dedication to be a part of the rowing team.

Matt Fisher, student president of Murray State Rowing, also said it takes a lot of determination to be a rower.

Fisher said the team has outdoor practice on Kentucky Lake, as well as indoor practice in Carr Health, where the team uses ergometers to simulate the mechanics of rowing.

The team is broken up into varsity and novice. There are men and women teams for both divisions.

The men and women’s varsity rowing teams practice at 4:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, while the novice teams practice in the afternoons. The team is so dedicated to the sport that they cross train during the off-season in the winter.

The hard work pays off for the rowing team. Fisher said the team had its best season last year, winning 53 metals overall.

Forty new members were added to the team this year, bumping up the total number of rowers to 75. Fisher and Helmer said they are both looking forward to another successful season.

“This year we have the potential to be a lot faster and a lot stronger,” Helmer said.

Despite all of the hard work and competitive nature that the rowing team shows, Fisher said his favorite aspect is being a part of a team.

“The camaraderie of the team is great,” Fisher said. “It’s nice to just have a group of people that are behind you, supporting you and are always willing to help you in whatever you do. We’re just a tight-knit bunch.”

Overall, Fisher said that he wants non-rowers to know that rowing doesn’t discriminate. It is accepting to anyone who is willing to compete.

“Most people think that rowing is not for them, but rowing has a lot of different aspects to it,” he said. “You don’t have to be the biggest, the strongest, the tallest or anything like that. There’s no experience necessary.”

Story by Taylor Crum, Sports writer