RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Ridgefield’s Meg Galloway has reached the U.S. Youth Nationals with the Connecticut Boat Club for the past two years. The junior co-captain hopes to make it three as she and the rest of coach Liz Trond’s crew heads to the Northeast Junior District Championships this weekend in Lowell, Mass.
Galloway rowed on a quad for CBC that competed in nationals in 2011 and again last year on the Varsity 8 that won the Petite Finals. On a team that lost many to graduation over the past few years, Galloway is the only girl on the CBC team with national experience.
“We’re not really there yet in terms of experience and knowing what need to do to get there again,’’ she said. “But we’re all hopeful. At regionals we’ll see a lot of the same people that we saw in Saratoga, and we’ll be ready. If you don’t come in the top three, your season is over. It’s definitely different in terms of mentality.”
This year has been a transition for Galloway, who has emerged as a leader for the Norwalk-based team while also learning about her teammates. “She’s learning how to lead, and I think that’s what she’ll bring into next year,’’ Trond said. “She’s a super worker and mentally strong. She keeps herself very strong. I can’t remember a time where she had to sit out.”
Galloway has become one of the nation’s top junior rowers while also playing ice hockey for the Ridgefield High School team. She started playing when she was 6 and combined a rigorous off-season training program for rowing while playing for the Tigers.
“I was determined to do it,’’ Galloway said. “I started rowing as a way to stay in shape for hockey, so I wasn’t about to give it up. Some days we had hockey practice in the morning, and then I would go to rowing in the afternoon. Two-a-day workouts definitely help keep you in shape.”
Galloway started rowing as a sixth-grader at the Norwalk River Rowing Association. Her mother, Colleen, who rows in the masters program at Maritime Rowing, encouraged her daughter to try the sport.
“They put me in a barge (a learning vessel that is used for learning) and I could turn the whole thing around by myself,’’ Galloway said. “I guess I just took it naturally.”
She rowed on the Norwalk River Varsity 8 team as an eighth-grader before joining Trond. She made the National Junior Performance team last year and competed in an international competition in Germany. She is hoping to be selected for the U.S. Junior National team this summer.
She knows other teams will be targeting CBC this weekend. “I overheard an athlete at a recent meet and they said, ‘Oh, yeah, we came in third, but we beat CBC,’’’ Galloway said. “We’ve had a target on our back for a while. We’re going to give it our best and see what happens. I definitely want to make it back to nationals.”
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