Recent Garnet grad Melissa Curtis has had an interesting year. First, she chose her future college: Princeton was the winner, beating out Harvard, UVA, and Yale.
By Mitch Silver
Recent Garnet grad Melissa Curtis has had an interesting year. First, she chose her future college: Princeton was the winner, beating out Harvard, UVA, and Yale. Then she graduated from Rye High with honors. After that, she took Silver in the Pairs competition in U.S. Rowing’s National Junior Championships in California. And by the end of June, Melissa was rowing every day at Connecticut College, site of the national selection camp for the World Championships.
Of course, working out every day is nothing unusual for Curtis. “I’m either on the water or else I’m running around Rye,” she said. “If not that, I’m working out on the ERG.” She explained that the indoor rowing machine, or ergometer (ERG, for short), isn’t just a dry-land rowing simulator; it’s the way coaches measure different athletes from around the country.
“The ERG keeps all your workouts in its computer memory. Then you send the results in to the national coaches. That, and what they see in the selection camp, is how they choose the team.”
In no other sport does one-on-one training count for as much as in rowing. “That’s what I like about it. Rowing is an honest sport. What you put in, when you’re exhausted and want to quit for the day, is what you’ll get out.”
Melissa must have put in a lot, because she was sitting in the number four seat when the national eight took the water for its Friday heat at Worlds in Hamburg, Germany. “We got off to our usual slow start, but by the 1,000-meter mark we were challenging for the lead.”
The crew’s third-place finish advanced them to the Sunday final August 10, but that’s where their golden run ended. “We rowed our worst race of the year. The water was choppy, especially in our lane on the outside. We got off to another slow start and never recovered.” Still, Melissa and her teammates know they’re among the top half-dozen boats in the world.