This past spring rowing season has been full of excitement! We rowed through fog, rain, and choppy water. Boats flipped, practices were tough, we raced in lineups that had no practice, and races where our boat had a broken part. We faced it all, and it was all leading up to this race: Southeast Youth Rowing Regionals!
Every race that I've ever been in has taken place in Tennessee. That is, until I went to Regionals. This year they would be in Lake Lanier, Georgia, a little farther away from our usual race venues. I was excited for a change in scenery!
It was a really nice site for rowing, so it's no wonder that some events from the 1996 Olympics took place here!
When we arrived, it wasn't long before I found my team at our trailer. There were supposedly a lot of teams competing, but it actually didn't feel too crowded, which is nice.
And with this being such a big race, my little sister came along to watch me compete!
Some of my friends were already there or arrived just a little after I did, so, of course, we hang out while we waited for the racing to begin! All of the girls on our team would have only one event each, and we wanted to make sure to give it everything we had! Mine would be a double, and it was one of the first events for us, coming just after the singles...
It came sooner than I'd expected, and I was pretty nervous to be honest! Though I've been in races bigger than this one, this was regionals! That in itself had me anxious!
Then to add to my fears, this would be my only race at the entire regatta. Regionals last two days, but if we didn't make it past time trials, it would end right there for me. There were 27 boats competing in that event; only 14 would move on!
Also, this boat hadn't quite had the best racing experiences. My double partner is great, but we'd only ever gotten to race this boat once before at the Percy Priest Sprints and we didn't do very well. The water was a little choppy then and we finished last. This was also the same boat that I flipped earlier in the season! So, not exactly encouraging to know going into the race!
But I had to set those thoughts aside and concentrate only on doing my best then and there! We got to the starting line on time and without any issues. Some other events were still in progress, so we had to wait on them to finish. Then the boats in mine started to line up, and one by one we each started our time trials.
Overall, I think it was a success. We started strong and even though we slowed down near the end, we still finished giving it everything we had!
But we were passed by two other boats and didn't pass any ourselves. At one point we even had to get in another lane to yield to another team. It wasn't a nice feeling, but at least we didn't have any problems doing that, and I don't think that it slowed us down.
And at least when I got off the water, I could honestly say that I gave it everything I had! I was exhausted and breathless when we crossed the finishing line, and though I was pretty sure that we weren't advancing, I was happy with the way I'd raced!
After docking we were quick to get everything ready and back to the trailer. Tired as we were, we still had to make sure not to waste our time to avoid being disqualified!
We gathered around Coach and told her how the race went. Then, a few minutes later, she told us our results.
As I'd thought, we weren't moving on.
We ranked 24th of 27. 10 boats away from qualifying.
Regardless of how much it hurt knowing that my racing was done for the weekend - the season in fact - I knew that I'd given it 100%...
...and at least we hadn't finished last!
With my own racing being done, all that was left for me to do was enjoy the rest of the regatta and cheer on my team!
That included watching them race, looking around the shops with me friends, and playing cards with them. And while I waited for the women's quad to row down the racecourse, I spent some time with Pippin (one of my teammate's dogs). Isn't he adorable?
So even though I didn't advance in my own race, I still think that we did well for our limited time rowing together, and I had a great time! Next regionals, though, I'll be ready! With some hard training, I'll be ready to advance to grand finals and even nationals.