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A Year of Reflection and Honor For a Woman Pioneer in Rowing

by A USRowing video by Ed Moran, ed@usrowing.org | Dec 18, 2015
Ginny Gilder first fell in love with rowing as a teenager standing on the banks of the Charles River watching the Head of the Charles Regatta. She was just 16-years-old, and dealing with the effects of a troubled home life and knew when she saw the boats on the water that she was being shown an avenue to a new life.
Ginny Gilder first fell in love with rowing as a teenager standing on the banks of the Charles River watching the Head of the Charles Regatta. She was just 16-years-old, and dealing with the effects of a troubled home life and knew when she saw the boats on the water that she was being shown an avenue to a new life.

“I was going to school in Boston and escaped for a day,” said Gilder. “A friend of mine had a friend at Princeton who was a coxswain and he said come see the race. I was like, what is this, what is a regatta. So I came to the race and I was just so kind of unhappy with my life the way it was. You know, a lot of teenagers are not quite sure what is going on in their lives and I had enough going on in my family background that I really wanted kind of a new life. And I think looked at the river and saw these oars and these boat and everything looking so perfectly synchronized . .  .  I think I was just memorized and I wanted into that world.”

And in she went. Gilder rowed and was a pioneer for women’s rowing at Yale University, the United States Olympic and National team, and this year after writing her memoir – “Course Correction. A Story of Rowing and Resilience in The Wake of Title 1X” – she was named the winner of the 2015 USRowing Jack Kelly Award.

Listen to Gilder talk about her career in rowing, what it was like to write her story, what she would tell thinking about rowing during an interview prior to being honored at the Golden Oars Awards Dinner Nov. 19.
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