Ivy league dreams realized
SAUGATUCK — Over the last several years, success has been a mainstay for the members of the Saugautuck Rowing Club. In the water, the program has won national titles, sent rowers to the Junior Olympics, and beyond.
Now the next crop of rowers are preparing to embark on the next step in their lives after signing on with a number of schools in the Ivy League.
“I knew when I first went into the whole recruiting process that I wanted to cox at a D-I level school and go to an intense program from which I could learn a lot,” said Alin Pasa, who will be attending Yale in the fall. “When I visited Yale, I absolutely loved everyone on the team, and I saw that the coaches were extremely focused, but fun people.”
Along with Pasa heading to Yale, Harry Burke will be on his way to Harvard, Jared Edwards signed on to Columbia, and Isabelle Grosgogeat will be attending Princeton next fall.
“It had always been a dream of mine to attend an Ivy League,” Edwards said. “With rowing I was on a get recruited or take a gap year path. I hadn’t ever imagined before I started rowing that I would be a recruited athlete. But this changed toward the middle of my junior year as I started to believe that it would happen.”
While the success in the water has been well documented — the women’s youth 8+ team that has won three straight national championships and a men’s youth 4+ and 8+ team that qualified for the nationals last year — going through the process of getting recruited would prove to be a different kind of competition.
“It’s a long process,” Grosgogeat said. “I built some connections with coaches and narrowed down my list.”
She said the support from her parents when choosing Princeton help to make the process that much easier to go through.
“My parents were definitely supportive with that when I committed.” Grosgogeat said.
But the process was different for each of the members of the club. While Grosgogeat was excited about moving on to the next part of her career — Burke said moving on to the next level would not have happened without the “value of teamwork and camaraderies,” that had been instilled in him.
“One of the best parts about Saugatuck has been the team,” he said. “I’ve developed my closest friendships through it and have been constantly surrounded by awesome guys who really bring out the best in each other both in and out of the boathouse.”
Burke, who has
competed in and medaled in the past two World Junior Rowing Championships, said that honing his skills through being receptive to coaching and understanding that the team comes first is what has put him in a position to join Harvard in the fall.
“Rowing is unparalleled in its demand for teamwork...Talent in this sport cannot be cultivated without proper coaching,” he said. “So I’ve learned to totally absorb and internalize all advice that I get.”
The coaching staff has put each of the athletes in the best situation to succeed in the Sauagtuck Club and going forward in the future. Sharon Kriz, the director of rowing, and coach Gordon Getsinger, have been main reasons why many of them are able to continue on their careers, Grosgogeat said.
“I owe a lot to Saugatuck, she said. “Gordon was really helpful, we’ve had a great relationship.”
Pasa echoed the sentiment, she said Kriz provided a link with coaches at the next level during the mandatory time colleges are unable to communicate directly with recruits.
“Sharon has been extremely helpful from the beginning,” Pasa said. “College coaches aren’t formally allowed to talk to you before a certain date, so before that the coaches were talking to me through her.”
While keeping the lines of communication open for recruits and would-be colleges, the staff at SRC also provided the foundation needed to compete at the highest level, Edwards said.
As a late recruit, the able to rely on his teammates was not available since there weren’t any lightweight athletes the year before him. So that meant that he had to fall back on the teaching that came from the staff and his family, Edwards said.
“Most of my knowledge and guidance came from my coaches and parents throughout the process,” he said.
Although his teammates were always able to offer lessons and tips — that didn’t mean they weren’t right there cheering him on, he said.
“While not being able to guide me,” Edwards said. “My teammates no doubt helped me along by training with me and pushing me to my limit. (They) were always there for me and willing to help.”
ct.com; Twitter: @aronJohnson_