March 30, 2006

Senior Olson Makes Leap From High Jumping to Rowing

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After getting tricked into a 6k erg test by some cute guys in her physics class sophomore year, senior women’s crew co-captain Alexa Olson has become an integral part of the women’s crew team.

A former high jumper at Cornell, she dropped track after her freshmen year to dedicate herself to her engineering studies and to recover from a series of injuries.

Then she met a few good-looking men in her physics class who introduced her to the women’s novice coach, and the rest is history.

“I got suckered into it by the cute boys, but I have very much fallen in love with the sport and have continued it because I like the competition,” Olson said about the beginning of her crew career.

A true competitor, she says that her favorite part of rowing is “pushing yourself harder than you think you can go.” She also claims that she doesn’t mind the early practices, and that she is just starting to get tired of erging. Far from a calloused person, she too gets blisters on her hand.

After practicing hard on the ergs all winter, the team only recently made it out onto the water a week before spring break.

“Now that we are on the water, people have really been stepping it up and filling sits and it has been going really well,” Olson said.

Although the team is fairly young, it boasts seven seniors to add experience to the youthful squad. Also, the sophomore class looks particularly strong this year, coming off a second place finish as novices last year.

“I think that the talent that has come up from the younger class has really added to the program a lot,” Olson said.

As someone who started rowing rather late in her athletic career, Olson often feels that she is somewhat of a novice herself.

“I’m still relatively novice just compared to other people on the team. Everyday I am just trying to figure out another aspect of rowing. Maybe something that Michelle [Furbacher], who has been rowing for eight years, learned five years ago,” Olson said.

Crew is known to be a technically challenging sport, and it is not hard to imagine that in her third year at the competitive level there are still a few surprises for even the most naturally gifted athlete.

Part of her role as co-captain and one of the seniors on the crew team is to help set the goals and overall mood of the team.

As with many athletes, Olson wants to push the limits this season and make the boats move faster and more together.

“We are a fairly young team this year and we have spent a lot of time coming together as a team. Our goals this season would be to show the league the speed that we have found and the speed we have been able to create,” Olson said.

Olson and the team will open their season this Saturday competing in the Cayuga Cup held in Syracuse. The Red will be racing against Syracuse and Yale.

Archived article by Catherine Bourque
Sun Staff Writer