Barbara Lewis is typically considered to be 68 years old. But if you ask Barbara how old she is, she'll tell you that she's really 28. One then might pose the question, how can that be? Then, Barbara will tell you, that in her opinion, her life really started on 04 July 1978 when her athletic life began, while she was attending at a yoga camp in Val Morin, Quebec. Later that year, Barbara went on a trip to South Dakota with an organization based in Minneapolis called Cross Country Ski for Light. Since then Nordic skiing has been Barbara's passion.
Barbara, a visually impaired athlete, now travels the world and competes in Nordic skiing. She was born without central vision. Though she has peripheral vision, she has a decreased ability to see fine details. When asked what it was like to learn how to ski, Barbara laughed and replied that it was a bit wild learning to go down hills and she did crash a lot but that was OK. She loves gliding sports so skiing fit right in with other sports that she enjoyed such as ice skating, biking, and roller skating. While at Craftsbury last winter skiing, it was this attraction to gliding sports that got Barbara interested in learning how to scull. So this summer Barbara came to sculling camp.
Joining the sculling program for a week in August, Barbara started sculling in a Peinert Zephyr guided by a coach in a kayak and then moved into a Hudson racing double with a coach in the bow seat. When asked what it was like to get in a boat for the first time, Barbara said that she was surprised about the delicacies such as where to step, the balance, coordinating the use of the hands and negotiating the crossover of the handles. She describes how much time it took to learn to even out her power on both sides, keep the blades at the right level in the water, and that she really benefited from the hands-on aspect of the coaching at Craftsbury. Rowing in the double with a coach was especially enjoyable because of the team aspect of working together. Barbara also said that she had fun learning how to do a river turn, back the boat into the dock, and finding out what "catching a crab" meant! Barbara rowed in our weekly, Head of the Hosmer Regatta, completing the camp in fine fashion. Barbara lives in New London, CT.