Meet OC’s Rowing Coach: Megan Ann Patrick!

Angelina Mico '19, Staff Writer

Q1: “Where are you originally from? When did your rowing career start?”

A1: “I grew up in South Beaver Township. It’s just about a few miles down from Beaver Falls and I went to Blackhawk High School. I started rowing when I went to Princeton. I walked onto the novice team, never seen a boat before in my life, and I thought it sounded like a fun idea. I rowed lightweight my freshmen fall, so I was a lightweight novice, and I ended up being a coxswain. I coxed the heavyweight men for that spring, and then the rest of my time there.”


Q2: “When did you know that you loved coxing? Because every rower has that moment when they know this is what they want to do.”

A2: “That’s a good question. Probably not my first spring, that was still a little bit overwhelming. I was still trying to do my job and figure it all out. Maybe by the end of that spring. I really liked my teammates. I really liked what we were accomplishing, and by our championship races I knew enough about what I was doing to be able to enjoy it. So kind of from that point on I’ve loved everything about it. I would also say that my first four years, my first years at Princeton, I got to a certain level, and then my next four years (after college) of still competitively coxing I learned an incredible amount more. So the longer you keep at it, the more you know about it.”


Q3: “So when did you first hear about rowing? What sparked your interest?”

A3: “My older sister rowed for a semester at her own college, and she said that she thought I’d really like it, and she was right!”


Q4: “What did you study at Princeton University? How did you manage coxing in college?

A4: “I majored in psychology and I minored in linguistics. As far as balancing studies and athletics, the only thing that you really have to do is mind your time for your social time. So there’s plenty of time to study all the studies you need to do, and there’s plenty of time to devote everything you need to do to your sport. The time that you have to give up is your social time. You can’t stay up until 2 a.m. playing video games with your friends. You can’t hang out in the dining hall for three hours having fun conversation. You have to keep to a schedule. You can still have a great social life, but you have to keep yourself in check – especially at Division 1 colleges.”


Q4: Where have you coached since college? What was the college coaching experience like at first? Describe coaching in Oxford, London and at Princeton University.

A4: “So I coached the Oxford women. I had been a coxswain for them for two years and decided to shift from coxing right over to coaching. My first year was really exciting and fun. I was a brand new coach and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had a great mentor, a great head coach, who guided me and let me try stuff. It was a little bit interesting because some of my very good friends were still on Oxford’s team. They tended to be in the varsity boat while I was coaching the second varsity boat, but still, that was an interesting arrangement when, for some reason, you’re running a practice and you have to tell your best friend what to do and how to do it. But I started coaching there. I got a lot of good experience there.

I also coached my college at Oxford. They’re intramural teams, but they practice everyday for an entire semester then have a race at the end of it. So, intramural teams, but intense intramural teams. I coached them for five years. When I came back to this country, I started as an intern at University of Virginia for the women. Those coaches are just amazing! I learned so much. They just won a national championship and they were on their way to another. What a time to be there! I also, at the same time, looked around and said, ‘What else can I do to enhance this experience? What else can I learn?’ I started coaching as well for the men’s club team. And I learned an incredible amount from the head coach there. He has a really unique way of personnel management. He has a great understanding of the guys and what they’re looking for and how to get through to them. I really hope that I’ve been able to take some of that into my own coaching as I’ve gone on. Then I had five years of coaching women at Alabama, and one year coaching women at Iowa.”


Q5: How do you see your rowers progressing as the season starts? How is the training going?

A5: “So I came and saw the girls practice the week before school started, and from what I saw on the water, I was pretty excited for what was going to happen. They have a lot of good fundamentals, so their rowing skills are there. So it’s like, let’s take those and let’s get the training on it, and then we’ll get the speed. We have been working hard now since school started. They’re attitude is absolutely right and that’s the main thing, you know? We can do anything with the right attitude. I think that we’re already getting enormously fitter. Yesterday’s practice [9/20/17], in particular, both boats just found themselves and produced a lot of speed, we just have to take that speed and maintain it now.

First out will be Head of the Ohio. We’re racing a 1st Varsity 8 and a 2nd Varsity 8 and I would expect to win both. Then we have the Blake Haxton Regatta at the end of October and I’m still deciding on the entries for that. We will also be involved in the Central Catholic Biathlon. It’s to be determined if we will be helping to run it or if we will be competitors.”


Q6: What ways are you using to recruit other rowers?

A6: “A lot of recruiting is by word of mouth. For novices, we welcome anybody throughout the fall semester – especially –  they should contact me at [email protected] and we are planning on doing another formal recruiting effort at the end of the fall sport season, so anybody who is interested is welcome to try it out!”


Q7: Will you be going to the World Rowing Championship in Sarasota, FL this year?

A7: “Yes!” *fist pump* “I’m not going to spectate, I’m going to volunteer. I’m going to be driving launches for the week. Some of those times will be safety launches in the warm-up area or on the course, and some will be referrers launches following races. I’m going on Saturday [9/23/17] and I’ll come back the day after the Coaching Conference… a lot of national team’s coaches will be giving presentations.”


Q8: Have you coaches any national team’s? Would you be interested in it?

A8: “I have not, but maybe, maybe someday down the road. Right now we are working on Oakland Catholic and that’s where the focus is.”


Q9: What advice do you give your rowers about rowing in college?

A9:  “My biggest advice is finding some place where you’re going to be happy. If you’re unhappy on a team, you’re not going to be able to make a contribution, no matter how amazing a rower you are. So finding a good place that is a fit for you is the most important thing. That might be the biggest most exciting place possible, and it might not be. Different people are looking for different things. Different people excel in different environments. Having a really big self-reflection to find out what it is that’s going to put you in a good position to do your best, and then going out and finding that place.


Q10: What makes rowing different from all other sports? What is the most unique thing about it, in your opinion? There is always that stereotype about the 5am practices and the “running”…

A10: “Our novice do not have any morning practices and our varsity has only one morning practice a week. That is a myth… a myth. The thing that makes rowing different is the epitome of teamwork. On some kinds of [sports] teams you could have a few superstars that really push the team, and add a lot of points, and run up the score, and they can get you pretty far. In rowing, you are as strong as your weakest link. Everyone has to be moving together, everyone has to be pushing together, everyone has to match everything that they do. It is the epitome of teamwork.”


Q11: What is something you want girls who don’t row to know about rowing?

A11: “One thing, as we’ve already covered, is the early morning myth. It’s not early morning, it doesn’t have to be, and it’s not here. I think another myth is getting really bulky and putting on muscle. No, it’s pretty lean. The only thing about it, that’s not a myth, is that it’s hard work. And if you’re a person who likes to dig in and work hard, set goals and then attain them, it could be the sport for you.”