Lily Pahl: rowing her way to victory

Katarzyna Nguyen, Spotlight Editor

While most teens dabble in sports commonly offered through their school, sophomore Lily Pahl finds that rowing is more her speed. Pahl, a sophomore here at Liberty, has done rowing since the seventh grade.

“My mom did rowing in college for the University of Washington. I had a few friends who started rowing, too, so we all did it together,” Pahl said.

As soon as Pahl started, she found out that it wouldn’t be as easy as it looked. What she and many others didn’t realize is that rowing requires the rower to utilize their full body in order to get the shell to move.

“Many people think that when you’re rowing, you only use your arms, but you actually use your legs a lot, too,” Pahl said.

Not only do rowers have to focus on their own performance, the whole team must focus on moving their oars in a synchronized pace. 

“To row well, you have to have good form, pressure, and control of the length of the stroke and rest period, all while going at the same pace as your teammates,” Pahl said.

Because of the amount of teamwork that is required in rowing, Pahl has created many strong bonds with her teammates over the years. 

“They’re fun to talk to when we’re at practice. To have them encourage you when you’re finishing a piece on the rowing machine is so special,” Pahl said. 

Although Pahl enjoys the sport and has been doing it for years, it has not come without challenges.

“I had a double partner, meaning a boat with two people in it, and we’d always row together. Then she moved, so I had to go in boats with other people, which was difficult for me to adapt to,” Pahl said.

The biggest challenge that Pahl experienced in her time rowing was the pandemic, which restricted her team from practicing together for months.

“Throughout middle school, I was getting better at rowing, but then COVID-19 happened. My performance instantly declined, so I had to build up my skills again along with my teammates,” Pahl said.

Although Pahl has been through many battles on and off the water, the cherished memories make it all worth it.

“Sometimes, one of our old coaches would tell us to bring money for the next practice. We’d row over to Kidd Valley and get milkshakes or fries together. Other times, we would go to Coulon Park and play tag there,” Pahl said.

After some time away from rowing in races due to the pandemic, Pahl is looking forward to competing again this season.

“I’d like to row in regionals because I haven’t been able to in the past couple years. I want to test my skills again and see how much I’ve improved,” Pahl said. 

Pahl plans to follow in the footsteps of her mom and row in college.

“You have to wake up early, so I don’t like that. But you know what? I can deal with it,” Pahl said.