Bucknell Women's Rowing Journal - Ashley Gennings
April 3, 2008
I can still hear coach's weekly reminder, "This is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to be a success story," as I sat in his office with a torn shoulder. Being injured through all of fall, most of winter, and getting in the boat again for the first time during our training trip in January was a difficult way to start out my freshman year. I remember feeling as though my injury took forever to heal. I was eager to see how far I could push myself after all that time off and how much the coaches expected of me. What surprised me the most however, was the support I received from my teammates, who had gone through grueling months of practice without me. The thought of building a relationship based on trust and reliance so late in the year was nerve-wracking for me. I will never forget one morning when we were doing five-minute pieces on the erg and having a senior, Sophie Bird, congratulate me after my piece. It seemed like being welcomed onto the team. The girls were extremely accepting from day one. I felt as though they were genuinely happy to have me there. Coming back was almost like riding a bike after not having done it in awhile, it was do-able but challenging at first. Through the winter I built myself back up to rowing shape, which you only understand if you've gone through Coach Kish's 30-minute warm-up. So far this season, I've been practicing and racing with the second varsity eight and I'm ecstatic to be there.
Coming off our first weekend of racing, which was hectic, exciting, and successful for the team, I could not wait to see what we could do having gotten our first race jitters out. The Murphy Cup, however, presented new challenges, which were not present during our marathon of dual races from the previous weekend. At the Murphy Cup there were heats, finals, and many competitors, most of whom we are going to see in a few weeks at the Patriot League Championships. We could not let these factors affect our racing. Coach Kate told us that we were to treat the heat like it was our only piece of the day, to race it as if it were our final. We did well in our heat, winning to advance us to the final. For the final we were up against mostly Patriot League schools, but our main focus was to stay within our boat, our tunnel, our piece, our final. We won our final by 6.5 seconds, receiving our boat's first medal and a gold one at that. Coach Kate was there to congratulate us along with our families; it was an exciting accomplishment for our boat. In addition, Bucknell received the overall points trophy. It's a great feeling to bring a trophy to a regatta from the previous year but an even greater feeling to take it back again.
The success Bucknell experienced at the Murphy Cup was a good second weekend of racing, but it was just a stepping-stone to our season. Our goal is not one race; it's the big picture. As a person, as a boat, and as a team we will continue to train and push ourselves to accomplish our goals.
- Ashley Gennings '11