Norwalk, CT, June 09, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- Most high school students complain about 5 days of classes and having to wake up at 7:30 to get to school.
SoNo Rowing and Brian McMahon freshman Olivia Clark, however, arguably puts those complaints to shame, carrying a courseload of honors and advanced classes. The 5-foot-7 fourteen year old honor roll student, in ten months, she has worked her way up from a summer camp novice rower to train with the Junior National Team development team.
This summer, Olivia will travel with teammate and doubles partner Robin Ritchey (Wilton) to the Junior National Development Team, a program designed to prepare rowers for the rigours of National Team development. Depending on her success, the program selects members for the CanAmMex team – an international team that competes directly against junior team members from Canada and Mexico.
Last year, Clark never would have imagined such success. Her mother being a rower, Clark wanted nothing to do with the sport, instead focusing on rock climbing and swimming. After friends began signing up for the SoNo Rowing summer camp, Clark relented and decided to give the sport a try.
Since that initial Summer season, Clark has been a force, earning accolades and recognition up and down the eastern seaboard, setting time standards that make her one of the faster fourteen year olds in the country, and earning the attention of national team coaches. Pushed by the competition and success of other SoNo rowers, Clark was relentless in not just making the team, but becoming a leader by example.
“The most important thing is, she has only just begun in developing a phenomenal work ethic and she's a great student,” said SoNo Rowing head coach Chris Wyant. “Our team is comprised of mainly workers. Olivia has only just begun her journey and she is already ahead of so many.”
Moving from the summer camp into the racing team in the Fall season, Clark rowed the single and double to outstanding victories during the year. Her first race, a grueling three mile race in a single shell, she won by several minutes. Her most recent singles race she won before her competitors had reached the ¾ mark.
“That was one of the greatest feelings I've ever had,” Clark said. “Just the sense of accomplishment and realizing that I could achieve success in the sport if I put in the time and work. It really helped me put things into perspective.”
This summer, Clark is looking to take the next step and fight for a chance to represent the United States. It's hard work for the 14 year old, but she is confident that her time in crew will pay dividends whether she continues into college and beyond or as she continues to grow up.
“You learn a lot about yourself in a boat, especially in terms of what you are capable of,” Clark said. “There comes a point where you want to stop, sleep in, take a day off, but that is when you just have to push harder. It's really a mental challenge above the physical challenge, and I find that really fulfilling for me.”
If you are interested in SoNo Rowing programs for you or your child, contact head coach Chris Wyant at SoNoRowing@gmail.com or visit www.SoNoRowing.com.