I am a Junior at Winter Park High School. I have rowed for the past two years; I was in the freshmen boat my freshmen year and the 3V my sophomore year.
Freshmen year, I joined the team weighing 140 pounds at a height of only about 5'7": I was on the chunky side. My first fitness test run (3 miles) was a 29:31. I worked hard every day to lose weight and get faster. By my last fitness test run, I had cut ten and a half minutes off of my time for a PR of 18:01. Additionally, I had lost 20 pounds! Being able to lose weight and then gain muscle was a huge personal triumph for me. I had a fantastic coach and a great deal of fun in the freshmen boat. We went to States, Stotesbury, and Nationals; our best success was getting sixth at Stotesbury.
Sophomore year, I rowed in the 3V with eight of the best friends I'll probably every have. Our coach, Lisa Synder, inspired us every day and allowed us to row to our full potential. On paper, we shouldn't have been a fast boat, but we worked together and were able to do spectacular things. By the time States came around, we had had numerous successes and beaten out boats that we didn't think we could have. In the final at States, we came in third by 0.3 seconds: an extremely close race. Initially, we were stunned and disappointed, and when Coach Snyder came over, she was crying... but the first thing she said to us was that they "were tears of joy". She was so proud of how hard we had worked, so proud of our spirit, and she was so happy to have spent such a fantastic and "roller-coaster" season with us. She hugged each of us, and we too were proud of ourselves.
So far, that's the best experience I have ever had with a team or with any of my friends at all. I hope that I can have a spectacular season this year, as well! Our program is self-sustaining; we don't receive any funding from the school, so all of our expenses have to be paid by us and you!