Rossi Drops the Hammer
By Greta Petry (April
UAlbany student Lisa Rossi came in first
of 29 women in the Charles River All-Star Has
Been (CRASH-B) Sprints World Indoor Rowing
Championships in Boston in February. She won
a gold medal and a hammer.
"The hammer is significant, and an
honor to win, because of the phrase ‘drop
the hammer,' which refers to your oar
in the boat," she said.
Rossi, a sophomore from North Tonawanda,
N.Y., with a double major in Spanish and Italian
and a minor in criminal justice, would like
to one day work for the NYPD and later, the
She may just do that, considering the focus
she brings to rowing.
"I only joined the crew team upon arriving
at UAlbany and had never rowed before in my
life," said Rossi of the club sport.
"I didn't know I was interested
in crew until I saw the team recruiting on
the podium in the fall of 2003," she
said. "I only joined because it looked
like a good workout. Now, however, I cannot
imagine my life without crew – it has
helped me manage my time, lose weight, gain
confidence, make amazing friends, become a
leader, and gave me my boyfriend (who is also
on the team)."
The CRASH-B competition is an indoor event
for rowers who want to compete during the winter,
but generally crew is done on the water outdoors.
People from about 14 through their 80s competed
from 20 different nations in Boston, Rossi
said. About 20 rowers and two coaches represented
UAlbany crew at the event.
While she won first place in the coxswain
women's event, Rossi explained she is
not a coxswain on the UAlbany team, but a rower.
"Coxswains are the girls or guys in
the stern of the boat steering with the rudder
and calling out to the rowers. They are usually
very small, which is why the weight for women
at CRASH-B's was 120 lbs. and less. They
usually do not row, but at this particular
indoor event there is a coxswain event, meaning
if you are 120 lbs. or less you can row in
it. I made the weight so I rowed in the coxswain
event," Rossi said.
"The coxswains never row, except they
have this one event in this one indoor competition," she
said. "The whole reason I did it was
because, with my times, I knew I could win
if I made the weight. My 7:54.5 is how long
it took me to row 2,000 meters on my own machine
racing against the other 28 women in my category," Rossi
In spring and fall the UAlbany club rows
on the Hudson River for practice and wherever
the regattas are for competition.
There are different types of boats. "You
can scull by yourself; there are doubles, pairs,
fours, and eights. I rowed in an eight last
semester," Rossi said. "This semester
we have a varsity women's four and a
varsity men's eight. At regattas there
are mixed boats, but varsity rows either women
or men – no mixing."
Rossi's first place time was two seconds
slower than her personal record, which she
made the day before placing second in the lightweight
category at Adirondack Sprints, a small indoor
competition at Skidmore College.
"They say crew is like a cult and once
you're hooked, that's it," Rossi
said. "Well, it's the truth. I wouldn't
give up my spot on the (UAlbany) team for anything.
The sport is truly amazing."