BOULDER - It's a sport we'll see in the Rio Olympic Games, but rowing has been around the Rocky Mountain state for longer than you might think. Colorado Junior Crew is an up-and-coming program that's bringing rowing to the forefront in Colorado.
Established in 2007, the club is made up of students from 16 different schools, ranging from eighth to twelfth grade. Since it first started, the crew has grown to nearly 60 rowers.
"When we travel to the coasts where [rowing] is very popular, people are all, 'You guys have water in Colorado? Where do you row?'" CJC head coach Tyler Romero said.
You could argue, they do have a point. While there aren't many sizeable bodies of water in this landlocked state, it doesn't prevent these adventurous and active high school athletes from finding ways to compete. The crew calls Boulder Reservoir home, and practices five days a week, every week.
"We don't have a lot of matches or a lot of games," Romero said. "We have about two or three opportunities a year to prove ourselves, and then we get six minutes on the water against other crews."
The sport is also known to create accountability and responsibility among its members, as the discipline of getting up early to practice before school, isn't ideal for everyone.
"There's no indoor practices out here," Romero said. "If one rower doesn't show up, you can't just row with seven. You can't go on the water."
"I think it's the push to do something that people don't hear about every day, it's the early mornings that I'm drawn to, it's the saying I'm going to be rowing, and people say, 'What's that?'" Fairview graduate and University of Portland rowing commit Ashyln Schultz said.
Each member of the crew has an individual role, but in the end, their strokes are bigger, faster and stronger together.
"Football or baseball or track or basketball, it's not to say they're not fun, I did all of these sports, too. But there's something very unique about rowing that draws people in," Romero said.
Check out the video and go to the Colorado Junior Crew website to learn more about the program and its accomplishments.
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