Four in a row
Women’s rowing makes a habit of bringing home national titles
They make it look easy, but their blisters and their sacrifices say otherwise. Western’s women’s rowing team has accomplished what no other team has done in any NCAA division: win four straight national rowing titles.
The rowers in the varsity eight and four shells both won their championship races near Sacramento June 1, leading the entire length of the 2000-meter course.
At the team’s core was a group of seniors, Metta Gilbert, Samantha Marikis, Staci Reynolds and Amelia Whitcomb, who rowed in each national title-winning regatta.
“For those seniors to finish out their careers like that, I can’t even fathom what they’re feeling right now,” said John Fuchs, who has been the team’s head coach for 10 years. “They’re the perfect example of what a student-athlete is. They represent all that is great about it.”
This spring’s championship rewarded months of grueling work, including cold mornings of rowing before dawn, followed by afternoons of running, weight lifting, swimming or other workouts to prepare for the critical minutes of racing.
“We spend a lot of time rowing in the dark,” Fuchs said.
The work paid off. The team hasn’t lost to another Division II school since 2004.