When Waring Alumna, Emma Taylor left for her first semester to Mt. Holyoke College this fall, she didn't plan on participating in collegiate athletics, but that all changed her first week on campus.
I caught up recently with Emma through email, asking her about her Crew experience so far and how her career as a Waring Student-Athlete helped her transition to becoming a Collegiate Student-Athlete.
Q.) Coming from the Waring School, where everyone participates in some sort of sport or physical activity, what were your plans to continue staying physically active as an incoming student at Mt. Holyoke before you were asked to come out for Crew?
A.) Mount Holyoke requires students who aren't on a Varsity team to take at least 4 P.E. classes before the end of their sophomore year. I was planning on working out on my own, taking dance and various gym classes. I registered for West African Dance and Beginning Weight Training my first semester, before knowing I'd be doing crew. I ended up keeping those classes and joining the crew team. However, this semester I'm just doing crew since the Spring season is busier than the Fall season.
Q.) Can you describe how you were “recruited” to participate for the crew team?
A.) I wasn't really recruited for the crew team since I had never rowed before. However, I was erging (using an indoor rowing machine) in the gym during the first week of school when the Novice coach (a coach who works with first year rowers) saw me. She asked me if I'd be interested in trying out for the team. I showed up a week later to try outs and made the team.
Q.) Can you describe a typical, day, week, season, year in the life of a crew athlete?
A.) We have practice six days a week from 4:20 to 6:45pm/7pm (unless we have a morning practice instead). We have a double practice on Mondays and Thursdays because we also lift in the morning. Practices vary from being on the water to doing pieces on the ergs at the boathouse. Rowing is very dependent on weather. Though we do row through rain or snow, there are some weather elements we can't row through. For example, we've been erging this week, though the weather is beautiful, since the river is flooded and the current is too dangerous.
During the Spring season we have a race every weekend. The Fall season is more practicing than racing since we only had two head races. Though we technically only have two seasons, Fall and Spring, Winter training is extremely important since it is the foundation for Spring racing. During our Spring break we went to Clemson, SC for our training trip which prepared us for our first race.
Q.) The commitment to collegiate athletics is immense. Can you tell us about some of the benefits?
A.) For me, some of the benefits have been finding a new sport I enjoy. Crew wasn't an option at Waring and it's been great learning a new discipline. Because of the immense commitment of participating in a collegiate sport, you definitely get physical benefits. Months of training really show and it's gratifying to see the progress through my training journal and also how far the team has come since the Fall. We push each other to do better and always go beyond what we think we're capable of achieving. The team is such a nice community and it's been great getting to know them better through training, team bonding and dinners.
Q.) How, if at all, did the Waring Athletics program help you prepare for the rigors of participating in collegiate athletics.
A.) Waring Athletics taught me about team culture and trying things I hadn't done before. Though lacrosse wasn't my sport, I still had to give it a shot which lead me to realize I enjoyed soccer and basketball more. I think all Waring alumni would agree that Waring pushes you to try everything, whether it's on the field or in the classroom.
Q.) Coming from Waring, your time management skills as a student-athlete were strong, due to the rigors of Waring’s academic and athletic program in general. How has this translated into helping you manage your time at the collegiate level?
A.) Juggling the Waring homework load, practice and away games really helped me refine time management and my organizational skills. No one is just an athlete at Waring and that is true at Mount Holyoke which is D3 for rowing. As student athletes, we not only have to show up prepared for practices and races but also stay on top of homework and exams for classes. With longer and more frequent practices at Mount Holyoke than at Waring, I'm glad I was already accustomed to balancing both worlds.
Please see Emma's remaining spring schedule HERE
Good luck the rest of the way, Emma!