Junior Clara Gross, who has played high school volleyball for the last three years, first learned about crew a year or so ago from her brother, who had begun rowing as a freshman at Loyola Marymount University.
Through his words of enthusiasm and encouragement, she was inspired to start rowing and even to get a coach.
She is 6-feet tall and has a wingspan of 74 inches — dimensions that are highly desirable for successful female rowers. It also helps that Gross is naturally athletic. She plans on joining a rowing club over the summer and attending a college rowing camp.
Gross has a rowing machine — called an erg, or more specifically a Concept2 erg — in her home. The machine has a sliding seat and an oar that connects to an adjustable resistance wheel to simulate rowing in water.
“I did not plan on playing volleyball in college, but now that I have started rowing, I would like to row in college,” said Gross.
Following her first session on the erg, she covered a simulated distance of 500 meters and her time was 1:44.9. After her time was posted on a rowing website, she was thrilled when she was contacted by several colleges.
Her new-found sport has not totally replaced Gross’s passion for volleyball.
“I have made the difficult decision to quit club volleyball, but I still plan to play high school volleyball next year,” she said.