Carolyn Schneller of Crozet, in only her second year as a rower for the Western Albemarle High School crew team, took second place at this year’s World Indoor Rowing Championship at Boston University’s Agganis Arena at Feb. 14.
Schneller, a junior at Western, competed in the Juniors age group, 16- to 19- year-olds. The competition takes place using regular rowing machines, which, through a series of chains and fans, can calculate the speed at which 2,000 meters—a normal rowing race distance—would have been traveled. Schneller’s time was 7 minutes, 9.3 seconds, and the winner, from Germany, finished in 7:02.6. There were 218 competitors in her group. To enter the championship, Schneller first had to achieve a qualifying time, which she pulled off at the Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprint in Alexandria. Next she will compete at the Junior National ID Camp in Washington, D.C., and, if things go well, the selection camp for the national team.
“I’m kind of surprised. It’s been good luck, or fate,” said Schneller.
Schneller also plays center for the varsity girls basketball team, averaging about 9 points per game, and was named to the All-Jefferson District second team this year.
After a disappointment with the volleyball team, she took up rowing in 10th grade. “I just decided to give it a try,” she said. “I love the team and I love being on the water.”
But a lot of her effort is spent on rowing machines and she admits she does not have “a passion for erging.” She gave up her iPod for Lent and now finds the time she spends practicing on the rowing machine at the Western Ridge Fitness Center pretty boring. She’s doing two-a-day practices and is on a nutritional plan.
She hopes to go to college on a rowing scholarship and is considering any of the top 15 rowing schools, but foremost U.Va. Other possibilities she’s curious about include Harvard, Princeton, Tennessee and Clemson universities.
“Crew is the ultimate team sport,” said Schneller, who rows in the number 5 seat. “Eight rowers have to move as one and the boat has to be kept set [balanced]. Crew showed me that a bunch of people will support me in whatever I do and that has made me excel.” WAHS races in its first regatta of the season this month.