PSR ANYTIME. ANYWHERE. Introducing the Pittsburgh Sports Report eMagazine. Click to read and watch the best sports coverage in the region.
Monday August 3 2015
Leave this field empty.

Row Row Row Your…Erg?

PSR Logo
“People do crazy things when they’re in love.” – Hercules Truer words have never been spoken for Maddy Pollock and Sydney Jean Gottfried, regarding the pair’s love for the sport of rowing.

The 16-year-olds, rowers with the Steel City Rowing Club in Verona, broke the world record for the longest tandem erg row for women 19 and under, and the 24-hour tandem row. They etched their names in history on Wednesday, March 28.

An erg is an indoor rowing machine that sits one person and simulates rowing on a river. In order to break the record fair and square, the girls had to figure out a way for them to switch without stopping. One of them rowed for 30 minutes while the other refueled and refreshed. They rowed a total of 285,685 meters, which equates to about 177 miles during their 24 hours on the machine.

A spring break training trip to South Carolina turned into what proved to be a memorable trip for the pair when they decided to go for the record. 

“It was a last minute idea,” said Pollock. “We were on Spring Break with plenty of time to recover.”

What started out as a joke with their coaches turned into a plan that was very intricately thought out, especially considering the short amount of time it took them to decide to go for the record.  

“We were driving with our coaches and joking about breaking a world record,” Gottfried said. The pair is coached by Laci and Dori Tompa and Matt Grau of Steel City Rowing.

“We set up a hang out area in my house,” said Pollock of the preparations they made before beginning. Gottfried added that lots of sleep the night before and lots of food were crucial to being physically capable to make it the entire time.

With their names in the history books, both girls said they wouldn’t have done anything differently in all aspects of the event, especially the quick turnaround between deciding to give it a shot and actually doing it. 

“I’m glad we planned it last minute,” said Pollock. “There was not much time to think about it.”

Pollock, a junior at Shadyside Academy, began rowing when she was in the seventh grade and had her first rowing instruction as part of a learn-to-row class at school. 

“I thought it was worth a shot,” she said of what has now become her passion. “I tried it, loved it, and never ever want to give it up.”

The same goes for Gottfriend, a junior at the Ellis School who only began her rowing career about a year ago. 

“My brother rowed and I came to his workouts,” she said of her introduction to the sport. “Maddy was already there and we ended up working out together and eventually rowing together.”

The Steel City Rowing Club boasts several alumni who have gone on to pursue college careers in rowing at top-notch schools such as Boston University, Stanford and Harvard.

In a city surrounded by rivers, the club is in a prime location to foster talent of all ages.

“There is a huge range of adults that row, like ages 19-75,” the girls said. 

They also said they hope to volunteer at the Rowing Club once they get older, as they want to be around the sport forever. Even though the girls are only juniors in high school, both already have collegiate rowing on their minds. 

“We really want to go to college to row and hopefully continue well after that,” Pollock said. “I can’t imagine ever dropping the sport.”

The rowing world can’t imagine them dropping the sport either.  It’s safe to say that these two will not come rowing “gently” down the stream.

Share
The Steelers started the offseason by signing franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a significant contact extension. A day before training camp opened, they capped the offseason by extending the contract of general manger Kevin Colbert.
Editor's DeskFeature One
In 2012, the leading rusher for the Pittsburgh Steelers was Jonathan Dwyer. His 623 yards was the second-lowest total for the team's leading rusher in a full season since Dick Hoak's 531 yards led the way in 1969.
Feature TwoPure SteelTop Story
Todd Haley is entering his fourth season as the Steelers' offensive coordinator. After a bumpy start to his tenure in Pittsburgh, Haley directed one of the most explosive offenses in team history in 2014.
Feature ThreePure SteelTop Story
Time moves faster in the NFL. Players seem to age more rapidly and rosters turn over more quickly than in any other sport. Nowhere else is this more evident than the Steelers defense, where nine of 2011’s opening day starters are no longer with the team.
Feature FourPure Steel
PSR VIDEO
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Steelers TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Xfinity HS FootballHigh School TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3PSR Video PiratesPirates TV Channel
Pitt football’s forgettable Paul Chryst era ended at 19-20 when the Madison native returned to Wisconsin to coach the Badgers, leaving the program in the same state of mediocrity in which he found it.
Custom 1Pitt Football
On the heels of a dismal 4-8 season in 2013—and seated firmly upon the hotseat—head coach Dana Holgorsen was able to steer the West Virginia football program back in the right direction in 2014.
Custom 2WVU
In western Pennsylvania, football is the sport that the natives follow most closely, and with two major programs, Pitt and Penn State, most of the attention is divided among the two of them.
Custom 3Small Colleges
Stepping into Beaver Stadium sporting traditional, nameless navy blue and white jerseys, Penn State football intends to chase a championship under second-year head coach James Franklin.
Custom 4Penn State