Aug 21, 2013
WASHINGTON - Senior Tegan Campia found her niche in rowing during her high school days, but after coming to Georgetown, the culture on the Hilltop has furthered her love for the sport she calls "paradise."
A chance to continue rowing would provide her with "discipline, goals and a like-minded community," she said, not to mention the opportunity to experience something even many of her current peers haven't encountered.
"How many of my non-rowing classmates have seen the sun come up over the National Mall?" she offers. "Zero."
Though many throughout D.C. may experience a few sunrises over the historic monuments and buildings that line the District's sky, few do so like Campia and the Georgetown rowers.
"The moment when you've just wayed-enough (come to a stop) after a workout," she begins, "you get your first breath of air and it feels like you're drinking in the oxygen. You have steam coming off you and your boat mates. You look at your legs and they are these weird tan things sticking out of your body that don't seem to have a shape, but they feel like the most raw and powerful things in the world when you think back to how you walked through that crew. Then you squint out of the boat and see the sun coming up. Paradise."
But Campia, the Hoyas' openweight captain this year, will tell you that it's the camaraderie with her fellow Hoyas that provides the team's success. The boats that head coach Miranda Paris has put together have made all the difference.
"As soon as you go out on the water, you can feel the competition between the boats in the warm-up," she starts. "You work on technical aspects as a boat and improve throughout the practice, while still competing with the girl in front of you, as well as the girls in the other boats. You get off the water, exhausted and content with the day's efforts, and you walk or ride back to campus with all your best friends.
"These girls are self-motivated, good people," she continues. "They want to make themselves better every day, and they want to improve you, too. They love to compete, the calluses on their hands, joking around and school. There is a sense of directness and purpose that I've felt from no place else. They are here to go fast, then return to their equally hard lives. There is a high-level of dedication to the team, the school and their own dreams. It's a highly motivated group of girls who expect nothing for free and are happy and willing to work. What they do on the everyday is amazing."
Year-in and year-out, Georgetown rowers compete in prestigious events, racking up both useful experience and wanted experiences along the way. But sometimes the little victories become the greatest feats. One of those victories-turned-lessons for Campia was in the petite final at the Eastern Sprints in Camden, N.J., this past year.
After a poor start to the morning, one in which Campia said her boat offered little to be proud of, she and her boat mates refocused and came back with avengence.
"I don't think I've ever seen a faster start," she said of the afternoon start. "It hurt so much, but we were glory-thirsty animals, not taking any strokes off. We were a powerful locomotive on rails. ... I swear the water parted to let us by because it was terrified.
"That's just an example of the enormity of effort it takes to be great," Campia admits. "We worked on bringing that aggression to every practice and every race after that. It's tough, but we're working on it."