Briggs, a three-sport captain (volleyball, Nordic ski racing, track and field), was looking for another way to stay in shape when she became a member of the Long Lake Rowing Club
A little more than one year ago, Erin Briggs was planning on going to college in Utah, figuring that her competitive athletic career was over.
Now, thanks to a spur of the moment decision to join a newly-founded rowing club, the Orono senior’s life has taken a completely different path.
Briggs, a three-sport captain (volleyball, Nordic ski racing, track and field), was looking for another way to stay in shape when she became a member of the Long Lake Rowing Club, which began in 2011. Briggs’ natural abilities showed through immediately and when she took first place in an individual race last summer, college rowing programs took notice.
“After I won the race, I started hearing from colleges,” said Briggs. “That was a cool, completely-unexpected experience.”
Briggs was impressive enough to earn a rowing scholarship offer from the University of Virginia, the defending national champions.
Staff writer Jim Paulsen talked to Briggs about her future career and how rowing has changed her life.
Q: Why did you start rowing?
A: That’s an interesting story. The club opened up pretty close to where I live, so I decided to join. I just thought it was fun, but I really didn’t know anything. I took a 2K test on a rowing machine and I did pretty well. Then I won a regatta and I started getting calls from colleges.
Q: How did that feel, having so little experience at rowing?
A: I was so grateful and humbled that something like this could happen. I’ve met others who have been rowing for years and years. It’s amazing to think I’m at that level.
Q: What did the college recruiters say?
A: They liked that I was a good athlete and good at other sports. But the coaches told me what they liked the most was my character and work ethic.
Q: Why Virginia?
A: They were the number one team in the country at the time, so that helped, but I really liked the coach. His motto drew me to them: “Stay humble and stay hungry.”