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Rower's Spotlight

Lois Gest

Who: Lois Geist

Been rowing for: Four years

Why did you decide to join the rowing program? I've always wanted to try rowing and a "Learn to Row" advertisement was at a basketball game I was at. I signed up with a friend and have been rowing ever since!

What surprised you most about rowing? How hard it is. It looks really simple when you see teams on the water but getting the balance of the boat is actually really difficult.

What do you get personally out of rowing? It's a really great workout. I can't think of anything better than being on the water at 5:30 in the morning and watching the sun come up.

Tell us a little more about the rowing community: It encompasses everyone regardless of age or ability. We've got high schoolers and senior citizens. It's really fun because everyone accepts whoever walks in the door.

What would you tell to others who are on the fence about trying out rowing? They should absolutely take the opportunity to come out and try because it will surprise them. If they don't like it, that's okay but it gives them the opportunity to experience being on the water.

Tell us about the family aspect of Hawkeye Community Rowing: It's really about helping everyone be better. There are people who compete and those who don't, but everyone is here to row well and help other people row well. The level of practicing and the time we spend together just naturally allows people to gravitate towards wanting to be together as a group.

What Coach Danelle has to say about Lois: Lois means so much to this program.  The team and I depend on her honest, competitive, positive, and no nonsense spirit and attitude.  She is one of the hardest workers we have, and continues to strive for a better, more efficient and powerful stroke.  She also has been a huge advocate for the program and its current growth and direction.  I look forward to many more years with her in our program.


Kat Tandy

Who: Kat Tandy

Been rowing for: Three years

What do you do? I am the program administrator for the University of Iowa Center for the Book.

Why did you decide to join rowing? I've always been interested in rowing, but I'm not very tall and not quite small enough to be a cox so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to row - but then I found out about Hawkeye Community Rowing and realized I didn't have to be either! So I joined.

What surprised you most when you started to learn how to row? It was a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be - there's a lot going on in the boat and with your body. But those were hurdles that were quickly overcome with the group that I was with.

What do you personally get out of rowing? I've been able to meet people from all different groups in the community. The community aspect is a really big reason why HCR is so great. We get together outside of practice so we can all get to know each other outside of the boat. Also, it keeps me physically active. My fitness has greatly improved since I joined.

What's something that might surprise people about rowing? The shoes are in the boat! You take your shoes off in the dock and put your feet in the shoes in the boat. I had no idea!

Tell us about Coach Danelle: She's a great coach, really friendly. and really fosters the community of HCR. She can coach all levels - from complete beginners to seasoned rowers. 

What Coach Danelle has to say about Kat:  I love Kat for two reasons.  1) She handles both “ends of the boat” very well - bow seat and coxswain.  This is not for everyone.  Coxing a boat well takes concentration.  You need to steer and give direction to the crew – at the same time.  Bow seat takes grit.  It’s the most uncomfortable seat to row, and to execute it, you have to follow, bite your lip, and be ready…no matter what is happening in the boat.  2) She is a volunteer helper to the core.  Kat helps organize and run all of our events:  Learn to Row, Indoor Rowing Challenge and the Iowa Games, etc.  We could not be successful with our events without her.


Who: Josh Randall

Been rowing for: Seven months

What do you do?: I am a geographer for the Flood Center in Iowa City.

Why did you decide to join rowing?: I didn’t know anybody. I wanted to get fit while also meeting new people. And I saw it online, and just decided to join.

How did you get into rowing?: I didn't do a Learn to Row, I just jumped right in. I quickly found out how hard it was to row.

What has been your favorite part about joining HCR?: I get a structure in my life. It's nice to able to wake up and get my workout out of the way.

Do you think you're in better shape now after rowing for a few months?: Yes, it has grown a ton. There have been a lot of improvements in other areas of my life as well because I'm working out more regularly. 

What Coach Danelle has to say about Josh:  Josh is one of our new rowers this year, and he has made a statement on our program with his hard work ethic, constant strive to figure out the rowing technique, and his competitive nature.  Although he has only been with us for less than one year, it feels like he has been part of this rowing family for a very long time.  It has been a lot of fun watching him develop so far, so quickly.


Who: Bill Warner

Been rowing for: Three years

Why did you decide to join rowing?: I was looking to get into an activity that didn’t have as much impact as running. So I started talking to someone in the rowing program, and here I am. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. 

What's your favorite part about rowing?: Getting in a good and challenging workout. I eat a lot more but thank goodness I'm not putting on any more weight.

What's different about rowing compared to other sports?: You need teamwork, balance, and coordination. And the physical fitness is pretty good. There's a lot involved to make it work!

Tell us a little bit about the rowing community: It's a real interesting group and I enjoy spending time with them very much. They're a fun group and the camaraderie is excellent as far as I'm concerned. Everybody pulls together and helps each other out. 

What Coach Danelle has to say about Bill: Bill has a contagious personality.  His positive, helpful and calming spirit, along with his no frills and competitive nature make him a great team member in our program.  Bill has grow so much in this sport since he first began, and since he is very goal oriented, we will see him grow further in the coming years.


Who: Carly Lewis, medical student

Why did you decide to join rowing?: I had just moved here for school and didn’t know anyone yet, and I came to one of the Learn to Row sessions and I didn't stop. The comradery and challenge of the sport is a really good fit for me. 

What's the best part of rowing?: I get to see a lot of people, who over the last few years, have become family. The diversity of this group is one of the things at brings us together. We all have different things going on in our lives but then we all come to the boathouse for the same thing. There is a strong sense of support and everyone is willing to help one another. Rowing is also a full-body workout; I like the challenge.

How has your fitness changed? I really didn't have a sport before. I would go to the gym or maybe go for a run- but that was if I could muster up the energy. Rowing has become a habit. I'm here [Beckwith Boathouse] every day, I look forward to it, it's my stress relief. 

What Coach Danelle has to say about Carly: Carly has a beautiful long rowing stroke.  Her presence at practice and in a boat is always steady and consistent, no matter what.  For a coach, that is great.  I can put her any where and know that I can always count – unwavering - on that presence.


Who: Claire Rutherford, Senior at City High in Iowa City.

Been rowing for: Over a year.

What's the best part of rowing?: You talk about which sport is the most team sport, and I never really thought of rowing, but once I got into the boat I realized my teammates are really important, and I like that.

Why did you decide to join rowing?: I have a friend who moved to St. Louis who started rowing, and she was talking about it and it sounded really fun. So I ended up quitting cross country last year to focus on soccer, and I kind of had a lot of time, so I had time to do rowing if I wanted to. My dad found a flyer and I tried it.

What Coach Danelle has to say about Claire: Claire is a natural athlete.  She’s only been rowing for one year, and has left an impression on both the high school and adult rowing groups with her positive spirit and hard work ethic.  I am excited for her future in rowing, and beyond.