Senior Spotlight: Emily Gilbert


Emily Gilbert
Major: General Business
Hometown: Allen Park, MI

I decided to make a change in my college career and that involved transferring to Grand Valley last January. I was in a new town, new school and knew almost no one. My cousin was part of the rowing club and talked about how amazing it was and rowing was something I always wanted to try so I figured, why not try a new sport? I have always loved being part of a team and challenging myself though athletics. I emailed the novice women’s coach and she invited me to practice. I was so nervous to go, I had no experience, hadn’t been on a team in a while and knew nothing about rowing. While at the first practice I was introduced to many people who were all so kind and welcoming, who would later become some of my greatest friends.

It was tough, I felt behind coming in half way through the season but my new teammates were by my side the whole time and encouraged me to get better. I quickly fell in love with rowing and hadn’t even been in a boat yet. Everyone kept telling me “wait till we get on the water, it is so much better.” They were right. I realized there was more to rowing then I ever could have imagined. There was technique, discipline, trust. I wanted to do well for my teammates and so I absorbed all I could from them and did my best to improve my technique in the boat. I learned discipline with having to get up early for practice and having to follow my teammates in the boat by staying relaxed and controlled. I learned to trust my teammates and I knew they would work as hard for me as I would work for them and that my coxswain will get me through the race. Trusting that my team is always there to support me as I am there to support them, through the good and bad days.

I feel like my hard work paid off in the spring season my novice year when I made the 2V for MACRA and then again the following fall season when at Bald Eagle Collegiate Invite I received my first two medals.

Though my time on this team has been short, joining Grand Valley Rowing was one of the best decisions of my life. I have meet so many great friends and have learned so many life lessons I will take with me.

The Grand Valley State University Rowing Club challenges its student-athletes to reach the highest level to which they aspire both academically and athletically, while continuing to build and sustain a nationally competitive intercollegiate rowing program.

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