This week's row2k Interview is with Eastern Michigan sophomore Caitlin Rodanhisler. We talk with her about picking up the sport as a novice in college, and winning the Dad Vail Regatta.
row2k - You started rowing as a novice at Eastern Michigan, what was your athletic background prior to enrolling in college?
Caitlin Rodanhisler - Prior to college I was a multi-sport athlete participating in Volleyball, Basketball and Softball. I started all those sports at a young age, around the second grade. Other than being just an athlete in high school I also heavily participated in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H where I showed and raised livestock. Growing up on a small hobby farm has definitely helped me learn the definition of hard work and commitment. This also physically helped me progress into the athlete I am today, after all, those hay bales aren’t going to move themselves!
row2k - How did you start rowing and what was your novice year like?
Caitlin Rodanhisler - I first learned about rowing after hearing about it from my friend Meghan that I played volleyball and basketball with. She got recruited to row at another school. After that, I filled out a rowing questionnaire on Eastern’s website and got contacted for a visit soon after. My novice year was definitely one of the most challenging and rewarding years that I have ever had because it required me to push myself physically and mentally. Starting off my novice year I questioned if this sport or lifestyle was for me. There were some days in the fall that I really wanted to quit, but my teammates made it worth it to be there for them and myself every day. I think I reached a turning point after coming back from Christmas break that year. At that point, I feel I started to really get ahold of it and started to excel in this sport. From there, I learned you have to take it just one day at a time and chase your goals. When it comes to a team aspect, my freshman year I feel as though there was a lot of good improvements and steps taken in the right direction for the program.
For the fall of my novice year I was in a novice boat, however in the spring time everyone on our team is considered varsity, and is able to race in varsity boats. Most of my spring season I was in the 2V. Towards the end of the season I got the opportunity to earn a seat in the 1V for our conference championship race, which is our most important race of the season. Reflecting back on my Novice year it is crazy to think I came in not knowing anything about rowing and ended up in the 1V. To me this just shows that anything is possible with enough hard work and dedication.
row2k - What’s your favorite aspect of rowing?
Caitlin Rodanhisler - My favorite aspect of rowing is race day because it is when we get to see all of our hard work pay off. Another one of my favorite aspects is my teammates because they are always there with you on the hard days when it matters.
Eastern Michigan Novices at 2019 Vails
row2k - What has been your most memorable race and why?
Caitlin Rodanhisler - My most memorable race by far is the Dad Vail Regatta for many reasons. Our coaches decided we would have a chance at making the medals and took only our Novice 8+. That experience gave us a time when we all got a lot closer to each other and learned a lot about each other. Winning our race also helped it to become my most memorable race.
I remember after the race we were about to go back to the recovery dock like every other race, but someone with a megaphone was telling us to go to the medal podium dock. We were all so confused because as our coaches told us later they didn’t want to jinx it by assuming we would need to go into a medal dock.
row2k - How has this season gone so far and what are your goals for the spring for yourself and the team?
Caitlin Rodanhisler - So far this year I definitely think we are stepping up. We’ve been placing higher in races than previous years, which is a good step. Our 1V got a top-five finish at the Head of the Charles in Boston, which was one of our goals. Our team also beat Michigan State’s boats for our first win over a Big Ten opponent since 2005. Some goals for myself is to improve my 2k time and to push myself in the weight room. For team goals, we have a goal to win the CAA conference championships and go to NCAA’s for the first time in program history.
row2k - What are you studying at Eastern Michigan and do you have any plans for after graduation?
Caitlin Rodanhisler - I am currently working on my bachelor's degree in exercise science. After completing this, I plan to go into the Master’s program for Occupational Therapy. After graduation, I plan to be an occupational therapist in order to help others to get back to their everyday living with ease.