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Snyder Following her Daughter's Footsteps

by Courtney Fritts, courtney@usrowing.org | Aug 18, 2013
Lisa Snyder saw her daughter’s first steps, her first days of school, her first soccer game and her first gold medal race in rowing. But Katelin Snyder coxed her mother’s first regatta.

Lisa Snyder saw her daughter’s first steps, her first days of school, her first soccer game and her first gold medal race in rowing. But Katelin Snyder coxed her mother’s first regatta.

Katelin, the 2013 U.S. women’s eight coxswain started rowing because her father, Jay, said it was “too tough” for her. Since then, it’s become a lifestyle. 

Her mother is winning national titles at the USRowing Masters National Championships in Sarasota, Fla., while she is on the other side of the world preparing to race at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, South Korea.

“Katelin started as a rower for Winter Park, so the summer after her freshman year of high school, I did a learn to row program, and Katelin came out to volunteer as a coxswain,” Lisa said. “She was coxing me as I was learning to row, so that’s what got me into it. Last year was my first race and it’s awesome.”

Lisa’s first regatta, coxed by Katelin, was a head race near their hometown in Sanford, Fla., and since then, she’s been hooked.

“I’m still in the beginning stages,” Lisa said. “Each regatta is still a learning curve for me.”

Since Katelin’s time rowing in high school and switching to coxing, she convinced her parents to let her go to the University of Washington to cox the men’s team, made three U.S. under 23 teams and two senior teams.

Katelin’s success has inspired her mother and two brothers to begin rowing and it’s evident to both parents that Katelin’s life has been changed by rowing and she’ll “probably never stop.”

“When Katelin is done with the national team, I don’t think she’ll ever be done with rowing,” Lisa said. “Whether it be coaching, or being a part of a masters program. If I have my way, she would definitely be mother-daughter racing with me, but I only have half of that say.”

Katelin has been a leader and role model in her mother’s rowing and coaching career. In some ways, Lisa says her daughter takes on the mother role, giving advice and ideas by phone.

“I bounce my ideas off of Katelin,” Lisa said. “It’s kind of a role-reversal, she’s been almost the parent side of our relationship with rowing, kind of an advisor. She’s very good at identifying and helping me through my weaknesses. She has given me ways to work through my lack of confidence technically, mentally and emotionally to get through things. She’s been a big part of my sticking with rowing.”

Katelin got her family interested in rowing in a big way. Her mother is also an assistant coach at her high school alma mater in Winter Park, Fla.

“I’ve called her for a lot of different things,” Lisa continued. “I’ll call to ask her things o much, I probably annoy her, but she’s never said so. She’s always been willing and I’ve used a lot of her ideas in coaching.”

A member of the national team in 2009 and again in 2013, Katelin took the years in between to coach the rowing team at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Both Katelin and her mom have seen how coaching has changed her perspective on coxing.

“While coaching at LMU, I got the chance to see the national team from a different perspective,” Katelin said. “Being a coach, you can see a lot more about how important the team dynamic is and what a coxswain can actually bring to the table. I’m working on being better on the water and a better teammate. I want to bring as much as I can to practice, even if I’m not in a boat.”

With her coaching experience, Katelin has used it to coach her mother, mostly by phone, since her national team training and travels don’t bring her home to Florida very often.

The Snyders won’t be making the trip to South Korea for the World Rowing Championships Aug. 25 – Sept. 1, but Lisa says if Katelin is racing, they will be at the world championships in 2014 and in Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Until then, Lisa and Jay will continue watching their daughter excel with the U.S. team and be there for her if she ever wants to call home.

“We’ve only emailed since Katelin has been in South Korea,” Lisa said. “She’s really excited about the boat. While she was gone from the team coaching, she picked up a lot that she got to bring back to the team.”

With hopefully many years to come for Katelin on the national team, her mother is just beginning to realize why her daughter fell in love with the sport of rowing. 

“I had no idea masters rowing would be so much fun. Win, lose or draw, it’s just such a rush for me.”

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