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Training
May 24, 2018

Fierce Flyer - Sydney Taylor on Elite Rowing

rowing_hero.pngSculling on the lagoon at Lincoln Park Boat Club right before we moved to Seattle (May 2016).

By: Sydney Taylor (Store Staffer and Elite Rower)

ROWING BACKGROUND

I am an elite lightweight rower from Seattle Rowing Center, training to make the senior national team for World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I have been a member of the Oiselle Volée since January 2017, and joined Oiselle store staff in May 2017. When I’m not rowing or working, you can find me running trails or biking around Seattle.

I started rowing in high school at St. Andrew’s School in Delaware, and continued on the Williams College crew team. After emotional goodbyes my senior season, I assumed that post-collegiate rowing would never compare with the elation of competing for my school and teammates. The September after college graduation, I took up sculling. In sculling, you row with one oar in each hand, as opposed to sweep rowing, where each rower has a single oar on one side of the boat. I had faced shoulder injuries during college after rowing on just port side (oar to the right of the boat) for 8 years in a row, so sculling seemed like a natural transition. 

rowing_1.pngView of racers from the bridge during the 2017 Lake Samish Salmon Roe 9k (PC: Alex Taylor).

Somewhere in the back of my mind I started imagining being on the National Team as a lightweight rower, but was deterred because I had never really learned to scull. As soon as I started to get the hang of rowing continuously in the single and got my first taste of competition and success, I was hooked and wanted to see how fast I could go.

My husband Alex and I moved to Seattle two years ago, and I eventually joined Seattle Rowing Center to train under Conal Groom, with the ultimate goal to represent the US in World Championships and the Olympics for the 2k distance.

rowing_5.pngHanging out with fellow Picky Bar's 2016 Feed the Dream athlete, Michaela Copenhaver, at Olympic Trials.

I love meeting other Volée members who row, or other rowers who are O fans! It was so cool seeing Volée come out to cheer Michaela Copenhaver (a fellow lightweight rower based in Connecticut) on during Trials last August – birds supporting other birds across disciplines! In the single, it can be easy to get caught up looking out for your own best interests, but in the sport of rowing, as in running, it can be lonely at the top, and it is better to bring one another up! As they say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” 

There are fleeting moments during rowing when you feel like you are flying – and I keep chasing that feeling. My favorite O phrase is embodied in rowing, “head up, wings [oars!] out,” and I used to imagine my own version while rowing, “head up, wings out, let her fly.” 

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GEAR TALK

As a Seattle-based rower, I train on the water year-round, and my Oiselle gear keeps me comfortable during all seasons!  

Lesley Tights are perfect for catching my coach’s eye during dark, early morning practices. The reflective stripe along the side of the pants makes it easy to watch rowers’ legs during the stroke to see if they are moving effectively. The reflective aspects are enhanced if you go old school and layer up with a Lightning Layer – you will be spotted for sure!

I especially like Flyte Tanks for erging. They are made with wonderfully lightweight material that keeps me at a comfortable temperature even as the erg room starts to heat up. The seamless design is a nice touch, and would work well with sweep rowing, as you rotate to one side or the other.

rowing_3.pngReturning to the dock after racing the double with Corey Niebur at the Elk Lake Regatta in Victoria, BC (PC: Daniel Hardman).

Wazzie Wool - I rely heavily on Wazzie Wool layers to get me through the winter months. Any time the weather drops below 40 degrees, I layer up in Wazzie Wool on top and bottom. Wazzie Wool is great for teamboat settings, where you might see a lot of backsplash, or any time when it is rainy and cold.

The perfect warm layer to top it all off is the Flyout Vest. The Flyout Vest is snug enough to not get caught up on your oar handles, and will keep you cozy to get you out the door.

This season, I’ve been mixing it up with some Spandos Capris and Shorts. Spandos Shorts now come in a longer length, which works great with rowing because your bottom won’t touch your boat or erg seat! The Spandos material is the kind of soft, comfortable weight that you just might forget you have on. My favorite print of the moment is Downtown, because it looks like the reflection of city lights on the water.


We are so proud of Syd's continuous hard work on and off the water, and we can't wait to see what the 2018 season brings her! We will be cheering her on along the way. Head up, oars out! 

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