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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Student sportlight: Rachel Watkin

“If you’re good enough, they will find you.” This holds true for Rachel Watkin, a varsity coxswain for New Trier’s Girls Crew.

Top colleges go above and beyond when recruiting new and outstanding talent to uphold their competitive sport reputation. That’s why Cornell University has recruited Watkin.

Watkin plans on continuing rowing at Cornell and Watkin could not be happier.

“I’m so excited that Cornell recruited me,” said Watkin. “I’m not interested in any other schools because I love Cornell so much… both the team and the coaches at Cornell are awesome. The girls are so nice and the coaches really know what they’re doing. I couldn’t be happier.”

Cornell University is a highly selective school, and has also been a national champion in ice hockey, lacrosse, polo, track and field, wrestling and of course, rowing.

Watkin will get to work with Hilary Gehman, head coach of Cornell’s women’s crew, and former Big Red rower Cecelia Madsen who was recently named the assistant coach for Cornell.

For those who don’t know, a coxswain may be the most important person in the boat.

A good coxswain must steer the boat in a straight course, motivate their rowers, and help them improve, while having extensive knowledge about the sport and technique.

Due to the lack of height and strength, Watkin became the team’s coxswain.

“Good coxswains are also good listeners and observers. They have to learn the technical aspects of rowing in order to help their teammates improve” said rowing coach, Sandy Culver. All the while, a great coxswain is one who, in Culver’s words, has “mastered the fine art of being bossy without being annoying!”

Watkin took up rowing in middle school with several of her friends, not knowing what to expect.

“I really had no idea what rowing was or what a coxswain was, but I thought it would be something cool to try out. I never expected to love it as much as I do,” said Watkin.

Eliza Weaver, senior rower and teammate said that Watkin coxed a varsity lightweight boat at Youth Nationals the past two years, and was famous for her “Sprint it out” call among her team.

Her teammates respect her for her technique and her spirit.

“Rachel is an outstanding coxswain because she is truly focused at all times on the best interests of the team. She never puts herself or her needs above those of her teammates or the team as a whole,” said Culver.

In addition to being dedicated, smart, and hard-working, Rachel has a great sense of humor! She is simply a joy to have on the team.

When she’s not coxing her team, she manages to keep all her teammates thoroughly entertained with her “self-deprecating jokes and her own special dance moves,” Culver said.

Weaver agreed, “She’s a great team player. She’s serious when she needs to be, but hilarious outside of practice.

One time, Rachel made our boat pet rocks that described us for our Rockford regatta. The effort was funny and cute.”

Watkin is enthusiastic and excited for the next year.

“So far senior year has been going great. I’m sad that this is my last year coxing at New Trier, but I’m also excited for what lies ahead,” said Watkin.

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