Success one stroke at a time

UT Rowing among best in the land while pushing through the pandemic
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 5:39 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It’s poetry in motion in a sport where the success of the team depends on the definitiveness of each individual, ”They really do, you can get on the water and think I got it and then you go and if you’re not right in sync with the rower in front of you, you’re messing up,” says UT head Rowing coach Lisa Glenn.

Senior Mikayla Dutton adds, ”It really is the ultimate team sport because with other sports you can have individual type of moments but with rowing you’re not gonna go far if you’re not moving together.”

Yes, it’s a beautiful thing to watch, in a sport that’s as physically demanding as there is says coach Glenn, ”Most people love what rowing looks like, how beautiful it looks how peaceful it looks but what they don’t realize is that if you’re doing right, it really hurts!”

As is the case in any sport, weight training is essential and the work the Lady Vols put in inside the weight training room manifests itself out on the water, one stroke at a time, ”We spend a lot of time in the weight room, we do a lot of cross training but the idea is to lever the boat forward, plant the blade in the water and you lever the boat forward by moving your arm and your back,” says coach Glenn.

Dutton adds, ”There’s a technical aspect because you pick up speed, there’s endurance because you have to last a long time but there’s also strength because you have to move as fast as you can as hard as you can.”

The Lady Vols are fortunate to have a training ground in their own backyard in the Tennessee River, a luxury most programs don’t have in a sport that continues to grow in our region of the country says the head coach, ”We’ve got high school rowers just north of us here at L&N Magnet school we’ve got rowing in Oak Ridge, it’s been growing in recent years and just throughout the region it really has grown quite a bit.”

As you might imagine, the pandemic has put a strain on just about everything over the past year, and that includes the way Lisa Glenn’s Tennessee rowing team has gone about its business says the coach, " We’ve had our fair share of setbacks, as I’m sure everyone has. We spent all fall in small boats, because we didn’t want to go out with nine people in a, in a shell, and train like that we wanted to be in two person boats and we were very careful about who rode with who, making the best of it.”

Tennessee is currently ranked 11th in the country, rowing into an important part of their schedule says coach Glenn, “We have our conference championship which we’re affiliates of the big 12 conference because SEC doesn’t sponsor rowing, as a conference, you got to get used to that pace so we’ll be going to Austin, Texas that and we’re just excited.

And with good reason as the Lady Vols have a chance to win a conference, and even a national championship during the month of May

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