Carr has the drive to succeedOct 06, 2015 04:34PM ● By Steven Hoffman
In a sport where one-one-hundredth of a second can make all the difference, a first-place finish often hinges on the drive and determination of the athlete.
Drive and determination are two things that Rose Carr has in ample supply.
The sixteen-year-old Newark resident only started rowing in the fall of 2011, but in less than four years she transformed herself into a top competitor, earning a spot on the USRowing Junior National Team that traveled to Rio de Janiero, Brazil this past August to compete in the World Junior Championships.
According to John Cohn, the head coach of the Newport Rowing Club, there is no secret to Carr's success. She has become an elite rower because of her willingness to work hard and dedicate herself to the sport.
“From the very start, she was pushing the envelope on that,” Cohn explained during an interview in September. “Rose is extremely determined and she's a very hard worker.”
Rose, who is now a junior at the Conrad Schools of Science, credits her older sister, Tara, a senior at the same school, with introducing her to the sport of rowing. Tara first gave rowing a try in the spring of 2011 and, according to Rose, had a natural gift for the sport.
“My sister picked it up right away,” Rose explained. “Tara was really good as a novice rower.”
Rose enjoys sports, and had tried basketball, running, and tennis. She also was a swimmer, and the endurance that she built up while swimming helped when she first started rowing. Even so, rowing did not come as naturally to Rose as it did to Tara.
“It took some time for me to grow into rowing because it was so different [from other sports],” Rose explained.
She was able to get the sequencing of the sport down quickly, and she liked rowing enough to double down on training. Rose's days now often begin well before the sun rises so that she can get extra practice time in during the morning.
Cohn said that Rose sets an example for others to follow because her work ethic and approach to the sport are ideal.
“She's always the first one to get out there and do extra work,” Cohn explained. “She's a leader in that way, and as a coach, that's exactly the kind of leader that I would want to have.”
Rose's exemplary work ethic helped her make great strides. In the spring of 2012, she competed at the novice level and gained valuable experience in competitions before advancing to the varsity squad in the fall of 2012.
Rowing offers Rose the added benefit of competing alongside her own sister.
For most of the 2014-15 season, Rose and Tara partnered for doubles sculls competitions, taking first place in all but one of their races. They concluded the season with their second consecutive first place in the Mid-Atlantic Junior District Championship Regatta, and a fifth-place finish at the National Championship Regatta in Florida.
“I think it's awesome that we get to compete together,” Rose explained.
The sisters have a natural trust with each other, and they balance each other's strengths and weaknesses.
“They are a phenomenal team,” Cohn explained. “They complete each other and they are both great athletes to coach.”
The successes that the sisters enjoyed also prepared Rose to compete on a larger stage against stronger competition.
Last summer, Rose helped the U.S. team win two races in the international CanAmMex Regatta on Lochaber Lake in Nova Scotia. Then, she qualified for the national team after training at the 2014 Junior National Development Camp and earning a promotion to the High Performance Junior National Team. That set the stage for the trip to Rio de Janiero, Brazil as part of the USRowing Junior National Team in August.
“It was incredible being on the team,” Rose explained. “I wanted to work toward this level and I got there. It was an incredible experience just being there with the high levels of competition.”
As a sixteen-year-old, Rose was one of the youngest members of the USRowing Junior National Team, and she didn't make it into one of the competition boats because there were more experienced members on the team. Just having the experience, however, was invaluable to her.
Predictably, the opportunity to be a part of the USRowing Junior National Team has inspired Rose to work even harder so that she can be in the position again in 2016.
“I would love to go back,” Rose said. “I want to train as hard as I can to be in the boat.”
Cohn is optimistic that Rose will again have that opportunity.
“She has two more years where she can make the Junior National Team,” he said. “The hope is that she will make it into one of the competition boats.”
The Carr sisters will have one more year to compete together in double sculls competitions. Rose said that she's really looking forward to the opportunities to team up with her sister. They have their eyes on qualifying for—and winning—Youth Nationals—in the spring of 2016.
Rose credited the coaching staff at the Newport Rowing Club with helping her develop into a top competitor in such a short period of time. Coaches Sam McDonald and Dan Hagelburg helped her immensely, and now Cohn is helping her reach new levels by working with her on technical aspects of the sport and by coming up with a comprehensive training plan.
“I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am without him,” Rose explained of Cohn.
The young athletes at the Newport Rowing Club have flourished under Cohn's guidance. The club was founded in 2010, and has already sent rowers to national championships five years in a row.
Many of the athletes have earned good opportunities at the collegiate level and are now competing for some of the best rowing teams in the country.
Rose will soon start exploring her options, and she is really focused on becoming the best rower that she can be.
“My motivation is that I want to be able to compete at an elite level—and to truly be an elite athlete,” she explained.