Quitting crew


Annie Aguiar

Junior Allison Snow arranges pictures of the rowing team from when she still competed. Snow quit crew after three years due to hip dysplasia.

Allison Snow
She misses being out on the water.
She rowed for two years before finding out she had to stop.
What was originally thought to be a hip flexor injury was actually hip dysplasia, a congenital disorder.
Due to the injury, she returned to the sport her junior year as a coxswain — the one person in a boat yelling instead of rowing.
“I miss being able to row,” she said. “I can’t describe the feeling.”
Months later, team captain Allison Snow quit the sport altogether.
Snow joined the team in her freshman year after attending a rowing summer camp months before starting high school. She rowed for the next few years, finally quitting halfway through her junior year.
“Crew is really hard; there’s a lot of time commitment and the workouts are really tough,” Snow said. “If you’re not in love with the sport and you don’t enjoy it, you usually end up quitting.”
Injuries, family, academic concerns, these reasons and more compel student rowers to quit the sport.
“People have their own reasons for why they’re quitting and we understand that,” assistant coach Alex Thome said. “Personal issues, grades. It’s all understandable.”
Instead of rowing, for which she nationally qualified in her sophomore year, Snow’s injury forced her to cox.
“I sat there and I yelled at novices. The water gets in your face a lot — it’s wet and cold and not good,” she said. “Coxing is really boring, and it’s a lot of time commitment for crew, so I decided to quit so I’d have more time to do homework.”
Like other former rowers, Snow found herself with a lot of free time; Hillsborough’s rowing club practices at least three hours a day, five days a week.
Snow uses her new free time to focus on school and coach her sister’s softball team.

Simi Himatsingani
Former team member Simi Himatsingani rowed for three years before stopping in the middle of her senior year to attend SAT tutoring and focus on her IB exams instead. “It was just too difficult to manage crew and SAT,” she said. She wanted more time to spend with friends and school.
Another aspect of Himatsingani’s decision was timing; she wouldn’t have been able to attend the national competition due to a scheduling conflict with her IB exams. “My mom said ‘if you want to quit, quit,’” Himatsingani said.
At first, Himatsingani was “kind of sad” that she had to quit crew, which she calls her favorite sport. “I was kind of like the emotional ex-girlfriend — ‘Oh no, I don’t want to leave you, but I have to,’” she said. “I miss being with my friends and working out. I miss being on a boat and being on the water.”
Himatsingani credits people quitting crew to the large amount of commitment the sport requires. “When I was more into crew, it took so much of my time. I was tired all the time, I got injured. It takes a toll on your body,” she said. “If you can’t handle that on top of schoolwork, it’s okay if it’s not for you. If you can’t do it, you can’t do it.”
Today, there’s only one four-year rower on the team; senior Andy Whitaker said he’s seen maybe two or three male rowers quit, but has “lost count” of the amount of female rowers that quit. “It gets tiring after a while,” he said. “It’s not as enjoyable.”
Near the trophy cases in Hillsborough’s main hallway, a large display courtesy of Hillsborough’s rowing team decorates the wall; two red and black oars are mounted alongside pictures of the team rowing and posing with medals post-races.
Even though Himatsingani quit the team, she still takes pride in the display. “When I first started here, [the team] didn’t have any recognition from the school,” she said. “I feel like it’s more of a good memory rather than a bad taste in my mouth.”