UnitedHealthcare Health insurance that includes all Western PA hospitals
Saturday May 28 2016
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
It's probably appropriate that Ayanna Townsend earned the CoGo's High School Sports Unsung Hero Award as a sophomore.
Feature OneHigh SchoolPress Room
After an eventful offseason, the Pirates went to Bradenton last month to get ready for the 2016 season. Did Neal Huntington assemble a team that can compete with the Cubs and Cardinals, or did the Bucs take a step backwards?
Feature TwoNorth Shore Notes
Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle met with the media at Major League Baseball’s winter meetings before the opening of Spring Training.
Feature ThreeNorth Shore Notes
One of the criteria for the CoGo's High School Sports Unsung Hero award is leadership. Whether it's in the context of sports, academics or in the community, the award honors student-athletes who distinguish themselves as leaders.
Feature FourHigh School
PSR VIDEO
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Steelers TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Xfinity HS FootballHigh School TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3PSR Video PiratesPirates TV Channel
Spring has arrived. The long cold winter is behind us, and so too are the grueling mid-season months that set up the NHL for its stretch run. Here are the teams that have emerged from the marathon and are well-positioned to make their bids for Lord Stanley.
Blue LineCustom 1
The NHL Playoffs are quickly approaching, and the Penguins are battling a spot at the Eastern Conference table. Here are three reasons why they will make a playoff run, and three reasons why they won’t.
Blue LineCustom 2
Whenever a hockey team changes coaches mid-season, it’s fair to look at the season in two parts. The beginning of the 2015-16 Pittsburgh Penguins campaign was the end of the Mike Johnston era and the remainder marked the beginning of Mike Sullivan’s tenure as head coach.
Blue LineCustom 3
Sure, making the playoffs would be nice, but is it really in the Penguins’ best interests?
Blue LineCustom 4