This week's row2k Interview is with Alabama junior Carley McCoin on finding rowing after a knee injury ended her basketball career.
row2k - You started rowing as a novice at Alabama, what was your athletic background prior to enrolling and how did you end up in Tuscaloosa? Carley McCoin - Prior to enrolling to the University of Alabama I played basketball in high school and did a post graduate year at IMG Academy competing against Junior Colleges all over Florida. I ended up in Tuscaloosa because I tore my ACL at the end of my season at IMG. I then had no offers on the table, other than to go play at a Junior college for two years and then transfer to a big university. I chose to just go to college and not be an athlete because I always dreamt of going to a big school and I would have been unhappy playing at a JuCo. I applied to Alabama because they had rolling admissions and I was applying after the deadline. I was accepted and immediately made my decision to come.
row2k - How did you start rowing and what was your novice year like?
McCoin - After being accepted to Alabama I received an email from the rowing coaching staff about the opportunity to walk on to the rowing team. They said I did not need to have any prior rowing experience, as long as I was tall and athletic I could be a success. I ended up trying out for the team and making it. My novice year was very exciting, I raced in the 2V8 for the spring season and met some of my closest friends.
row2k - What are some of the sports differences and similarities compared to basketball?
McCoin - Some similarities of basketball and rowing is the amount of work you have to put in to be successful. I cannot remember a day that went by before rowing that I didn't have a basketball in my hand. It takes a lot of hours in the gym to be very successful in basketball and the same goes for rowing. Also, the rowing stroke is very similar to shooting a basketball. All the power comes from the legs, generating enough force to bend the blade and finish the stroke, or to release the ball into the air. One huge difference is rowing is very repetitive while basketball you are doing more than one movement and thinking about a lot of different things at one time while on the court.
Carley McCoin (center)
row2k - What has been your most memorable race and why?
McCoin - My most memorable race would definitely be at the Head of the Charles in the fall of my sophomore year. I had heard how cool the Charles was, but actually getting to go and experience the atmosphere was absolutely unreal. I will never forget that race or how amazing it was.
row2k - How has this season gone with the new coaching staff, and what are your goals for the spring?
McCoin - The season has gone great with the new coaching staff! I think our team culture is better than it has ever been before, we have a fresh start with new coaches and we are all taking full advantage of it. We got to experience racing in pairs, fours, and eights in Oklahoma City which was amazing, and I think overall we are a much more driven and focused team. My personal goal for the spring is to break seven minutes on my 2k, and my goal for the team is to get top 3 at Big 12's!
row2k - What are you studying at Alabama, and do you have any plans yet for after college?
McCoin - I am studying Exercise Science and Human Performance. I am not completely positive on what I am going to do after graduation, but I really want to get into coaching basketball, own my own gym, or possibly become a GA somewhere for a women's basketball team.