Where You Can Go In Rowing-Jennifer Lewis's Story
This is my story. To be honest I started rowing because my mother wanted me to do something and by something, I mean ANYTHING. She wanted me to find something that I would enjoy and enable me to make friends. She signed me up for a summer rowing camp when I was in middle school. When I got to high school, I ended up trying out for the high school program. I fell in love with the strong friendships I made through the sport. I fell in love with the intensity of the sport and the training both on land and on the water. I fell in love with rowing and everything about it. One of my favorite memories from high school was winning the Head of the Charles. Both our women’s and men’s programs won the same year and the feeling was amazing. I can still remember the moment we heard the results and the excitement that followed. I continued my rowing journey through high school and into college. After turning down two small rowing scholarships I settled on a university with a club rowing program. It was a culture shock compared to the rowing program I grew up rowing for because we were not supported by the university financially. The equipment was outdated, and the team was mostly comprised of all new rowers. Instead of quitting I stepped up and made a difference. I was voted as club president and also started coaching the program during my sophomore year. I bought boats for the program, fixed boats, and coordinated our travel and spring break trips. While in college I went back home to work middle school rowing summer camps and coaching really became my passion. It was AWESOME! I was back coaching with my high school friends in the summer and rowing in doubles with my former teammates and friends. After graduating from college, I had a big decision to make. Do I can continue to coach, or do I get a grown-up job?? I had job offers in the financial field and in coaching. I decided to coach at a Division I university and learned so much from the Head Coach about training, team management, and Division I rules and regulations. From there my coaching career moved me from the east coast to the west coast. Wow! I went from Connecticut to California and never imagined this would be my life. I was now the head coach at a Division I university. I was only 25 years old and I had a lot of learning to do and growing as a coach and individual. We traveled all over the country, I recruited athletes both in the US and internationally, and we had success on the water. Winning the San Diego Crew Classic was a highlight and a memory I will never forget. The student-athletes I coached were strong, talented and great students. I am still friends with many of them today and happy to say that I currently work with one of my former student-athletes now at JL. It wasn’t easy but I enjoyed my journey and remember saying one summer while on the beach in San Diego, “I love my life.” Rowing had given me so much and made me into a strong, passionate, competitive, leader. After 10 years of being a Head Coach, I ended up taking a break to have two beautiful little boys and now I’m back where I need to be. I’m back working at JL Racing and working with all the awesome rowers and coaches out there! My journey is mine and it is amazing! What is your rowing journey?
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