UCF rowing team come together with different levels of experience

Rowing is a combination of physicality and finesse.

It takes a special kind of athlete to master both on the water, while working alongside teammates.

"The sport is not easy. It takes a lot to come to practice every day and give your all to get better everyday," Junior Aryann Johnson said.

Johnson is still relatively new to the sport.

She played basketball and competed in weightlifting at Hagerty High School. But her athletic background isn’t unique.

UCF Rowing is a little different than other teams at the university.

Many of these athletes played another sport while they were in high school. They had to learn everything about rowing once they got here. 

"At first I was a little shocked because I didn’t think that a D1 school would ever recruit me for a sport that I’ve never done before," Fifth year senior, Emily Puia said.  

Puia, who swam competitively for years, and Aryann Johnson are exactly what UCF is looking for when it comes to recruiting out of sport athletes to join the team.

While their transitions weren’t seamless, they eventually got a hang of it.

"Going from a sport where you’re doing really well, you’re kind of at the top…going to something that’s completely new, you feel like you’re failing for a lot of days," UCF assistant rowing coach and recruiter, Mari Sundbo said.

The rowers come to UCF with different levels of experience.

But they’re all working towards one goal. Right now, that’s performing well at Conference next Sunday.