By MIKE SMITH
On Aug. 15, half a world away, two local rowers, Lilian Lindsay and Melissa Curtis represented the United States in the World Rowing Junior Championships. Though the duo’s boat didn’t come away with a medal, the experience was certainly a high point on the year.
Racing as part of the Junior 8 boat in the Trakai, Lithuania, Lindsay and Curtis took fifth place, no small feat considering their competition.
“Coming in, our goal was to do as well as last year’s boat did,” said Harrison’s Lindsay. “They came in second and really, it was kind of a lofty goal.”
Lindsay said that the relative youth of the boat–seven out of the eight girls will be eligible to compete next year as well–may have been a factor in the finish, but the chance to go back next year should serve as motivation until next summer.
“I think overall, we were satisfied,” she said. “It was a very young boat.”
The girls were selected to the national team in mid-July and, after a few weeks of training together, were paired-off into boats, giving the Junior 8 about three weeks to
prepare as a cohesive unit.
According to Lindsay, who was a hopeful for worlds the last few years, the chance to represent the USA was a tremendous honor and something of a surprise, despite the strides she has made over the last few years.
“Even if things were looking in my favor, hearing the selection, it’s really shocking because you never know what is going to happen,” she said. “It’s definitely a great way to validate all of the training you’ve been doing.”
Once she got to Lithuania, however, Lindsay admitted that the thrill of just being there took a backseat to competition.
“There was definitely a lot of focus on the race,” she said. “You’re only there for two weeks so you’ve got to be focused.”
The Harrison senior did admit that she was taken aback by some of the other teams–and the fact that her boat was able to compete with those elite rowers was yet another validating experience.
“It’s definitely a humbling experience,” she said. “From rowing with these various high school programs, you’re competing with everyone just to get to this level. Then you come here and you see all these elite rowers, people who have been training for this for years. It’s a wonderful experience, a whole new level.”