Our website is made possible by displaying online ads to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our site.

Crew life at O'Connell

First slide

When you join the crew team at O’Connell, it becomes your life, according to senior Annie Garner.

There’s no time for other extracurricular activities, she said. Rowing goes year-round, with competitions in the fall and spring and intensive training in the winter.

“These girls become your family because you spend so much time around them,” Garner said.

That made it especially tough when the pandemic hit last spring, she said. The team went from seeing each other on a near-daily basis to not practicing together for 353 days.

“It was so weird — it was like, ‘What am I going to do with my life now?’ ” she said.

Garner has been rowing for O’Connell since her freshman year, and said she appreciates how much the sports pushes her to her physical limits.

“It’s a sport of determination,” she said. “We have (2,000-meter) tests. They’re really hard and if you can get through that with your crew family, then it makes you think you can get through anything.”

In the wintertime, crew members don't actually practice on the water. Instead, they use "ergs," or rowing machines, to train indoors. That winter training can be the hardest slog of the year, Garner said.

"A lot of people quit," she said.

She said the sport has taught her the value of perseverance. 

“When you look at crew, it doesn’t look hard at all, but when you actually know what goes into making the boats go fast and all the work we put in, when we win, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, we deserve that,’ ” Garner said.

Garner plans to continue rowing in college next year at Louisiana State University. She said she can’t see herself giving it up anytime soon.

“It’s the ultimate team sport,” she said. “I love the fact you can’t move a boat without your team.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021