Hannah Anderson Made An Opportunity, And Kept On Rowing

Hannah Anderson
Hannah Anderson rowing with Brock University – Photo by William Donegan

Chatham-Kent is bordered by Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. The Thames River and Sydenham River are major arteries in the Municipality.

The community however, isn’t known for the sport of rowing, which makes the success of Thamesville’s Hannah Anderson as a varsity rower at Brock University even more spectacular.

Although rowing isn’t a known sport in Chatham-Kent, Anderson has loved the water her entire life.

“My whole life I have been involved in sports, with a particular interest in water sports,” Anderson explained of getting into the sport.

“When I graduated high school, I started to spend my summers in Muskoka where I began to spend more and more time on the water. When I started at Brock, I became aware of the calibre of the training facility the rowing team had. This immediately had me intrigued.”

Soon, Anderson could no longer control her intrigue, so she went about making an opportunity for herself, and has been rowing ever since.

“After speaking with the coaches when I was in my second year, I was given the opportunity to come and train with the team during their off season. I was so impressed with the level of competitiveness and encouragement I had that I was instantly drawn to the sport. After intense training during the off season and during the summer, I went to training camp the following year and competed for the varsity team.”

Now entering her fifth year of a six-year concurrent education program at Brock, Anderson has come a long way since that summer of training, and has relished in the opportunity to compete at the OUA level.

“Competing at an OUA level has been incredible,” she said. “I welcome the challenge. Prepping for a race day is one of the most nerve racking and exciting things you can do. You have to make sure you are eating the right meals, still training but not over working your body right before a race and getting the right amount of sleep. OUAs is one of the biggest races to prepare for and it is also one of the most exciting, There is so much adrenaline pumping through your body, from getting your boat to the water, rowing to the start line and waiting in ready position until you see the light change to green and hearing the horn. I was lucky enough to place 3rd in a quad at OUAs. It has been one of the most difficult but also one of the most rewarding goals I have experienced in terms of sports.”

In Chatham-Kent, most athletes focus in on ‘traditional’ sports such as hockey, volleyball, basketball, or volleyball, but there are opportunities for athletes to use their fitness and skills in other sports as Anderson has.

“When I lived in Chatham-Kent I did play many of the ‘traditional’ sports. I played hockey for the Chatham Outlaws’ organization and I played on the Lancers Rugby team when attending UCC. What I learned when I went away to school is to never close any doors on any opportunities,” said Anderson.

“I went to speak with the coaches of the Brock Rowing team not knowing where it was going to lead me, but it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have experience so many different things that I would not have if I did not have rowing. One of the main points that I have learned from joining rowing is that you may skills that you have not yet exposed, which means that you can possibly compete at a levels higher than you thought you ever could. It never hurts to try something new.”

That willingness to try something new has paid off in many ways for Anderson. She’s enjoyed pushing herself, competing, and being part of a University varsity team.

“The part that I enjoyed so much about rowing is how much it pushed me,” Anderson said. “I was not typically the type of person to wake up at 4:30am every day and go train for 2 hours, then have another training session later that day, but it has pushed me extremely hard and showed me that I can accomplish a lot more that I thought I could. I think most athletes will say this, but the best feeling is when you cross the finish line or finish what you have been training so hard for. That is what keeps me going, is the accomplished feeling after training so hard.”

“Competing at a university level is amazing, there are so many supportive trainers, coaches and teammates that all push you to do your best at all times.”

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