Lily Carey is an 18 year old three time veteran of Craftsbury. The senior at the Pingree School in S. Hamilton, Ma. gave us some time to talk a bit about her path in rowing.
How'd you get into rowing/sculling? Do you primarily row or scull?
My mom has been rowing for over 30 years, and put me in her boat about 5 years ago. Ever since then I've been hooked on rowing. I really learned how to scull for the first time at Craftsbury. I credit the camp with my sculling technique! Since then I have been on a crew team for the past two spring seasons.
I understand that you've followed a bit of an unorthodox path in your rowing life. Can you explain the situation a little more for me?
For the first two years that I rowed, Craftsbury was the only place I was able to do it. My school doesn't offer rowing as a sport. There's also not a lot of open, favorable rowing water in my area, and I don't have my own boat, so I had to stick it out all year until my week at Craftsbury in early August.
Last spring, I was able to join a club crew team - Gentle Giant Rowing Club - that runs out of Malden, MA. The club is about 40 minutes from my town, so commuting was initially an issue, but I was determined to get out there and row. As much of a commitment as it is each day (leaving school and driving to the boathouse 5 days a week), I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
Is this affiliated with the Gentle Giant Movers? It would seem that the club could have a built in fundraising mechanism.
Yes. From what I know about the club, Gentle Giant Moving Company sponsors the program. Its founders started the club program for kids and adults who otherwise may not have had a place or the equipment to get out on the water. Check it out at http://www.gentlegiantrowing.org/.
What boats are you in with Gentle Giant? Any results you're especially proud of?
We race fours. We haven't had our first race yet this season, but last season was terrific. I believe we came in 1st or 2nd in the majority of our races and did fairly well overall at States. I'm looking forward to a fresh start this season though!
Only being able to get on the water for one week during your Craftsbury visit for two years sounds tough! How'd you get by without satisfying the rowing urge?
I do a lot of erging over the summer after the spring season is over to retain any strength I've gained. It's not the same as being on the water, but it's often as close as I can get. My mom has an old boat that I've taken out with her a few times on a small lake nearby, and that helps too.
What role does competition play in your rowing?
My club team has about 6 or 7 races each spring including a trip to States towards the end of May. We practice 5 days a week, usually on the water with some land training and erging mixed in. I love competing with my team, but for me rowing began as something I just truly love to do. Craftsbury really reminds me of that because I get a lot of time to myself on the water, just me and the boat.
What's your favorite workout?
I really enjoy running outside, so I take advantage of that whenever I can - especially during the summer. Often I'll run to the YMCA near my house, do some erging and a quick circuit focused on the core, then run home. This way I get the best of both worlds: running outside and some quality erging all in one. I'm also a basketball player, so 3 on 3 is always fun for me and can be a pretty intense workout at the same time.
When did you first attend Craftsbury? You've been here several times, why keep coming back?
My first year at Craftsbury was during the summer of 2005. I'd never really rowed before, and came to the camp with my mom. I had such a blast - from learning technique and improving my skills, talking to coaches about their experiences, Frisbee during free time, to the incredible food - it was hard to leave. I'll be back this summer, and with even more family I hope! My mom has come with me each year, and last summer my dad and uncle came along too. It's sort of become a family affair.
Do you have a session on the water that's most memorable and why?
My most memorable session was probably the one where a huge storm came over Big Hosmer. In just a matter of minutes everyone was caught in a torrential downpour. Eventually we had to get off the water due to the lightning risk. I hadn't rowed in rain like that before. I was soaked, couldn't grip my oars, and had trouble seeing much at all. I came in to the dock feeling like some kind of sponge, but it was definitely a row I won't forget.
I also beat my mom last year in the Head of the Hosmer, but I wouldn't consider it my most memorable time. It's wasn't my goal to go out and beat her...that's not really my nature. It was more memorable as a kind of passing-the-torch moment. We laugh about it now, but I'm anticipating some competition this summer.
Where are you going to school this fall and has rowing played a part in that decision?
Well, if you ask me this again in 2-3 weeks I'll know for sure. I am currently deciding between two colleges for the upcoming fall. Rowing was definitely an influence when I first started looking at schools, and I was sure to talk to coaches and get a feel for their programs. I want to be able to row and pursue all my academic and other interests; a balance is very important to me. Fortunately, I'll be able to have the kind of college experience I'm looking for at either of the schools I'm looking at.
Home water: Malden/Mystic Rivers
Favorite place to row: Craftsbury
Best advice you've gotten: Rowing is as much, if not more, a mental challenge as a physical challenge. Stay calm in your head and it will be reflected in your stroke.
I've always considered this some of the best advice for me because I tend to psyche myself out before races or during a piece. This helps me focus on the little things I need to work on, especially if I'm tired or my stroke is off.
Best shell: I love my mom's Van Dusen shell. It's beautiful.
Favorite Trou brand: JL
Winter training: tough it out in the cold or erg in the basement?
Erging in the basement doesn't sound all that pleasant, and I'm not too opposed to the cold. I could regret saying this later on...we do get a lot of snow and ice up here.
Boston sports question: did the Pats choke or the Giants just outplay them?
This is a very delicate subject. I've done my best to recover over the past few months. The Celtics and the Red Sox have helped heal my heartache from that Superbowl Sunday. In some ways I feel it just wouldn't have been as momentous and historic a New England sports season if they had won...we tend to mix defining sports moments with tragic losses and heartbreak around here. But that's what makes our fans so incredible. We live for the drama and excitement of it all. So to answer the question, I think a loss was just in the cards.
Peanut Butter: Smooth or chunky? Chunky, but I love the smooth cashew butter at Craftsbury. Always a favorite.