By Christina Schiavo, Corporate Relations Intern, Palio
We’ve recently been thrilled watching the powerhouse women’s Olympic row team, and equally thrilled that one of our colleagues is a rower. Video Production Specialist, Elissa Nadworny, has been rowing for years. It is a physically demanding sport, requiring strong core balance, strength, overall endurance, and precise teamwork.
Rowing is one of the oldest Olympic sports wherein athletes race against one another on a body of water, which varies depending on the type of race. Competitions can be held on rivers, lakes, or oceans. Each member of a row team sits in the boat facing towards the stern, or in other words, facing backwards. Oars are used to propel the boat forward (towards the bow of the boat).
Types of rowing competitions vary as well as forms of rowing. To be specific, the two main forms are sweep and sculling. In sweep, each rower has one oar that is held with both hands, and is generally done in pairs, fours or eights. When in a sweep boat, you’re either a starboard or a port depending on the side you’re on. Starboard is on the bow side, while the port side is referred to as the stroke side. On the other hand, in sculling each rower has two oars. This form of racing is generally done is quads, doubles or even singles and usually doesn’t include a coxswain (the person in the boat who instructs the team).
Similar to swimming, rowing is one of the few non-weight training sports that has the ability to exercise your entire body. It improves cardiovascular endurance as well as physical strength by exercising all major muscle groups including: biceps, triceps, quads, lats, abdominal, and glutes.
Nadworny started her rowing career in high school, and the story behind it is funny, to say the least. The crew club was new to her high school and offered a free t-shirt to anyone who attended the initial meeting. “I went with five other friends just for the free t-shirt,” said Nadworny. “But I decided to stick with it and I couldn’t be happier that I did.”
From the high school crew team, Nadworny decided to continue with her passion of rowing through college. She joined Skidmore College’s D3 crew team. Unfortunately, the coach would only allow 5′ 3″ Elissa to hold coxswain position due to her height. Upon her decision to study abroad her junior year, she joined an Amsterdam rowing group called Skull. Working with this group was a great learning experience for Nadworny, especially because they train the Olympic team from the Netherlands. Through the experience, she built stronger skills, endurance and physical strength and was able to prove her capabilities to her coach back home. Nadworny used an ergometer, an indoor rowing machine, to showcase her abilities and wowed everyone. Not only did she have an impressive score, but she ranked highest on the team. The next racing season, Nadworny was a member of Skidmore’s Women’s Varsity A boat as a rower, not a coxswain. The boat ended the season ranked 14th in the Nation.
Currently, Nadworny is a member of Skidmore Community Rowing (SCR). “It’s nice to be able to continue doing what I love and what I’m good at,” said Nadworny. “I most enjoy being a part of a team, working together towards a common goal.” With the SCR, Nadworny is the 7th seat – the seat generally reserved for a taller individual based on the amount of strength it requires to row from that position.
Alongside being a member of the SCR team, Nadworny has been coaching the Skidmore novice men’s team for the past two years. “I love that I’m a part of such a rowing community here in Saratoga Springs,” said Nadworny. “It’s great to be able to row, race and coach all within the area.”
Nadworny and the SCR recently competed in the U.S. Rowing National Championship. It was a 1,000 meter race and the form was sweep with 8 individuals in the boat. There were three heats of six boats, allowing the top two teams to advance in the finals. SCR’s team worked hard and was able to place 3rd in their heat. “This past race, I got that feeling where your body is tingling, like you’re about to pass out,” said Nadworny. “It felt amazing because I knew I pushed myself as hard as I possibly could and it was incredibly rewarding.”
Nadworny talked about how difficult the sport truly is. “Pushing myself that hard took some getting used to,” she said. “You have to leave it all on the water and truly give it your everything.”
Here at Palio, health and wellness runs through everything we do – in the office and out. And our employees are involved from every angle! From running to yoga, and tennis to ironman – you name it, we’ve got folks who do it. Because health is such a big part of our lives and work, our Because We Can health initiatives series is designed to highlight the passions, commitments, accomplishments and goals of a few of the members of our team. Follow up with Elissa @ElissaNadworny.
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