The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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G(rowing) up with Crew

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Junior Teal Cohen climbed into her boat at the Bachman Lake Annual Sprint Trials Regatta last March and prepared herself mentally like any other sprint race. However, this 1000-meter race differed from her usual sprint event. Instead of a teammate in her boat, her mother, Kim Elting, climbed on right behind her. Cohen, a member of the Hockaday Crew team, has been rowing since the summer of 2013. But she was exposed to the sport at a much younger age.

Growing up, her grandparents’ house contained reminders of her late grandfather Jim Elting’s rowing.

“I remember they had one of my grandfather’s old oars and a bunch of old photos that were super cool to look at,” Cohen said.

It wasn’t until a trip to Boston in eighth grade when she accompanied her mother, who was competing at the Head of the Charles Regatta, where she got a true flavor of the sport.

“I was already planning on [rowing], but I definitely got there and I was like, ‘Wow this is cool,’” she said.

Kim Elting was pleasantly surprised by Cohen’s interest. “I didn’t expect my kids to want to row,” Elting said.

Cohen came back to school and joined the crew team the fall of her freshman year. Her Hockaday coach, Tim McAllister, has taught her now for almost three years.

“Teal came to us with a very limited exposure to rowing through her mother, but no previous experience,” he said. “From that beginning, Teal has been extremely attentive to the fundamentals of the stroke and learning how to race.”

And other members of her family share this love for rowing as well. Cohen’s father rows recreationally while her uncle, Joe Murtaugh, began rowing for the club team at Villanova University in 1979.

“I think like a lot of rowers, I found my way to the sport because I got into a Division One school but wasn’t quite a good enough athlete in my traditional sport to continue there,” Maurtaugh said.

After Murtaugh attended an organizational meeting for rowing, he decided to pursue it. Even when Murtaugh transferred schools two years later in 1981 to the University of Virginia, he continued to row.

“I enjoyed it, and it set me on a career path after I graduated from college,” he said.

Murtaugh went on to coach at the University of Virginia and Princeton University. He currently is an English teacher and the boys rowing coach at The Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey.

However, Murtaugh is not the only one in Cohen’s family to row in college. Cohen’s mother started rowing her senior year at Ithaca College in New York in 1985. Even though Elting’s father rowed for the Varsity Heavyweight Eight at Yale from 1957 to 1961, her decision to row did not come from him.

“[My father] was probably the reason I didn’t row as a freshman because he was all about rowing, and I just had that little rebellious streak in me,” Elting said. However, she ultimately decided to try it out.

“I started because I was madly in love with a guy who was on the crew team. I started rowing so I could hang out with him,” Elting said. “But then I realized I really loved the sport, and he became less important, and the sport became a lot more important.”

Elting said that her biggest regret in college is that she did not start rowing earlier. After graduating, she continued onto law school. For a while, she stopped rowing.

“I would run by Bachman Lake and I would see people out there rowing, and I kept thinking, ‘Maybe someday I’ll get back into it. Maybe someday I’ll get back into it,’” Elting said. “I finally did when I was 46 years old, so I took over 25 years off.”

Elting now attends practices four times a week and works out each day. She is a member of the Dallas Rowing Club and is part of a group of Masters Rowers. These rowers are competitive rowers over the age of 27. They compete at several regattas such as the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, the largest in the world, every year. At this regatta, Elting competes against former Olympians and has even won against them.

“It’s intimidating. Even when you’re 50 years old, you get nervous,” Elting said. “I think honestly I may get more nervous before [my daughter] races than before I race.

Similar to how Elting now attends her daughter Cohen’s races, Elting’s father also attended every single one of her races in college. He even attended the races when she began rowing again as an adult. During the Master National Competition in 2011, Elting won the gold in a double event.

“My dad was a physician, and I was told that every patient who came in for the next year, he showed them a picture of me and [her double’s partner] winning in the double,” Elting said. “So it just goes to show you that I’m ridiculously proud of Teal. My father was ridiculously proud of me.”

Because many regattas have both Masters categories as well as Junior races, Cohen and Elting attend the same competitions.

“Now it’s even more fun because I get to go to regattas, and Teal and I are both there,” Elting said.

One instance was the Texas Rowing Championships regatta held in Austin from April 16-17. Elting was walking through the tents when she realized that one of her father’s old teammates from Yale, Emory Clark (who went on to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964), was there selling his book.

“The rowing world is really small,” Elting said. “There are connections with everybody, and so here was this regatta in Austin. There’s Teal and granddaughter of one of [Jim Elting’s] teammates, and it sort of just came full circle.”

Cohen shared his excitement. “It was really cool to see someone who had known my family for so long,” she said.

In addition to memories like these, Cohen and Elting have found common ground in rowing.

“I feel like it has definitely brought us closer,”Cohen said.

 

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