Rower Connection: Lara Perry

How did you find the sport of rowing? Or did it find you?

I’ve always loved the water. As a young person I had many fulfilling sports experiences. I went sailing, water skiing, tubing, windsurfing, parasailing, and kayaking, just to name a few on-water sports that I enjoyed. I grew up with a passion for outdoor activities. In high school I had the opportunity to be in Virginia Beach at Cape Henry Collegiate School for one year in tenth grade. Despite having been given so many opportunities to do things, I never had the chance to row crew. As it happened, they were forming a crew team the year I spent in Virginia. The object of the team was to work-out together. There was no on-water time. I was still dying to participate. My Aunt, who was watching over me at that time, did not allow me to participate, but that didn’t stop me. In 11th grade I applied and got into a Swiss boarding school that boasted of rowing teams. To my great dismay, when I arrived there, I discovered rowing was only for boys! How horrifying. Nevertheless, that still didn’t stop me. Determined that I was going to row, I made a point to choose a college experience that offered rowing at a women’s college where I could be sure all activities were intended for someone like me. So it was after a lot of longing, that I finally reached my goal of rowing at Mount Holyoke College. (With Katie Ouellette – FVRA President.)

What do you enjoy most about the sport? What do you enjoy most about FVRA? What keeps you coming back for more?

It would be so difficult to name only one thing that I love about rowing. Here are a few; the sound of rowing: the blades going in the water, the oar shifting through the oarlock, the tap down, and the voice of the coxswain. The feeling of rowing: the shift out of bow, the wind, the set, and the cohesion. The mental space of rowing: having clarity with awareness and heightened sensitivity. Being in nature is of course a wonderful part of rowing as well as the thrill of the race. 

I keep coming back to FVRA because this club is great. From the community, to the location, this organization works to make rowing available and so much fun! I really appreciate having access to effective leadership, teamwork, and coaching. I’ve stuck with FVRA because this group brings me so much happiness and improves my fitness.

Do you have any rowing-related goals for the 2023 season? What are they?

My goal for this season is to row each week and get comfortable enough to get back into a racing single. Lately, I have been in the Susie Q, one of the tubs.

Are you facing any challenges in the sport, and how are you overcoming them?

There are two challenges that I generally face: my busy schedule and constantly having to apply sunscreen. I’m overcoming them by saying no to things and using long-sleeve SPF protection cool shirts.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start rowing

If you are interested in rowing, you have come to the right place. My advice is you’ll make a friend or a few before you finish your first learn-to-row. If you’re curious, go ahead and give it a try!