Introducing Makayla, a sophomore on the Purdue Women's Rowing Team! Makayla is currently pursuing a degree in Creative and Professional Writing at Purdue, and she has been rowing since middle school. She loves rowing in a 4x and an 8+, and her favorite seat is 4 seat. Makayla recharges after practice with sunny side up eggs, and while she isn't at the boathouse, she loves spending time with her friends. We sat down with Makayla to delve into the world of collegiate rowing, and learn more about her experience with the sport she has grown to love!


JL Racing: What sports were you involved in growing up, and when did you start rowing?

Makayla: I did a few sports growing up, including soccer, skating, and fencing, but I never really stuck with them until I started rowing in 6th grade. I wasn’t consistent in middle school, but I started rowing consistently during my sophomore year of high school.


JL: Did you enjoy being a coxswain? What made you go back to being a rower?

Makayla: I enjoyed being a coxswain, but I like being a rower more. Before a race, I like to stop thinking and just listen, which is something that I can’t do as a coxswain. I also missed doing racing starts!


JL: What makes rowing a unique sport?

Makayla: The teamwork aspect. It really is a team sport, if one person in a boat is missing, that whole boat can’t go out to practice. If one person is out of time, everything falls apart. That aspect of having to be perfectly in sync is what makes rowing so different from other team sports.


JL: What role does teamwork and camaraderie play in rowing, and how do you foster a strong team bond with your fellow rowers?

Makayla: Teamwork plays a HUGE role in rowing, since the whole basis for the sport is to follow the person in front of you. During winter training at Purdue, the novice and varsity women’s teams practice together, and I think that is what fosters a team bond between us. Since we’re all working out at the same place and the same time, striving to get stronger for the spring season, we all get to know each other better and support each other’s goals.


JL: If you could give a high school rower a tip to prep for being a collegiate rower, what would it be?

Makayla: Listen to your body. It’s okay to have bad days where you don’t pull your best numbers, and when those days happen, look back on what went wrong. Are you not feeling well? Did you get enough sleep? Find what happened, and learn to avoid that to minimize the bad days. When one comes along, be easy on yourself. It prevents burnout!!


JL: How do you stay motivated during intense training sessions or challenging races?

Makayla: How I stay motivated during challenging races is to focus on my teammates in front and behind me. I think of how much we’ve trained to get to where we are now, and how these races are a chance to show how much stronger we’ve gotten throughout the season. That gives me the motivation to overcome those challenging moments.


JL: Are there any specific rituals or routines you follow before a race to mentally prepare yourself?

Makayla: I listen to my 2k playlist and drink water with Liquid IV in the hours leading up to the race, and I make sure to stretch!! I stretch everything multiple times to make sure I’m warm and ready for the row up and race back. Stretching helps me prevent injuries, and the Liquid IV water helps me feel ready to race, especially when it’s hot outside.


JL: Can you describe the feeling you get when you cross the finish line after a race?

Makayla: It’s hard to describe, and it varies with every race, but it’s a mix of being extremely tired, my whole body hurting, yet I feel good. It feels good to know I gave it everything I had, and that feeling is even better if my boat places in the top 3! No matter what kind of race it is, good or bad, I always look back on how I did, and what I should and should not replicate to get better results. 


JL: What is your favorite piece of apparel from your JL kit and why?

Makayla: My uni! It’s comfortable, I like the design, and it shows that I’m a Boilermaker. I’m proud to be rowing for Purdue!


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