Ariel Takes on Rowing and Academics at CGA

25/03/20247 minute read
Ariel Takes on Rowing and Academics at CGA

Finding a balance between intense athletic training and academic excellence means early mornings and strategic planning, in the pursuit of one's passions. Ariel, 15-year-old student from Geelong, Australia, tells of her experience participating in a demanding rowing regatta while managing a comprehensive academic workload with CGA.

Finding Her Passion for Rowing

Ariel’s story began in search of a sport that suited her, one that minimized injury risks while offering a rigorous physical challenge. Rowing emerged as the perfect fit. “I didn’t excel at many sports growing up, and often faced injuries as a setback, so when I discovered a sport [rowing] with relatively minimal opportunities for injury and a chance to push myself physically I immediately enquired and began my journey.”

Her initiation into rowing at Sacred Heart College, Geelong, marked the start of her exciting future on the water. The camaraderie and shared enthusiasm with fellow student-athletes added a new layer of joy to her rowing experience. “During the winter season I joined a local club, Corio Bay Rowing Club, and met a few Olympic and Australian Champions who helped me develop my technique as a single sculler.”

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The Balancing Act

With more than seven rigorous training sessions a week, some beginning at 5 am, Ariel found the flexible educational structure of CGA to be a game-changer. “Attending CGA gives me flexibility to fulfill my training requirements and academic responsibilities. For example, because there is no commute to a school, I have an extra 10 hours a week to spend on rowing and attending to my schoolwork or other extracurriculars.” This unique setup allowed her to adjust her academic commitments around her demanding rowing schedule, ensuring she didn't fall behind in her studies despite her athletic endeavors.

At CGA, her school day runs for a shorter time period than a traditional school setting which again allows her more time for balancing her sports and academics. “There have been occasions when I needed to be excused from class earlier due to rowing activities and CGA’s setup assists with easy catch-up. All my teachers have been understanding and supportive of my sporting commitments in regards to class whilst also ensuring my academics remain on track.”

Preparation for the Rowing Regatta

A rowing regatta consists of a series of races that mark the competition season for rowers. Types of regattas vary, encompassing everything from dual meets to championship races. Ariel participated in the largest school-girl regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, an event that turned Geelong, Victoria into a hub for rowers, with around 2,200 competitors from more than 40 schools.

Preparing for such an eminent regatta required Ariel to double down on her training, dedicating countless hours to refining her technique, building strength, and enhancing her mental toughness. With an impressive tally of over 400 km rowed this year, she dedicated her time to refining her skills, “As with any skill, the theory with rowing is that the more you practice efficiently, the better your body gets at improving and remembering the technique.”

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Rowing to Victory with CGA

Juggling the demands of both a high school curriculum and the rigorous training for a rowing regatta is no small feat. Yet, Ariel has been able to navigate these waters with CGA’s flexible class schedules. “CGA has supported me during this time by a bit more flexibility attending classes and also supportive encouragement from the teachers (specifically Mr. Salmon). CGA has also taught me how to manage my time more efficiently to pursue these goals.”

For other student athletes who struggle with balancing academics and personal pursuits Ariel advises students to ask for help. “There is strength in vulnerability and if we young athletes or students want to succeed we do need help at times. Ask that question. “

At CGA we have many students like Ariel, taking on the challenge of balancing their academics for the love of their passion. Whether it be sport, music or entrepreneurship.

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Final Thoughts: Follow Your Passions

“Both CGA and rowing will provide me with opportunities to get into good universities and/or colleges that offer great academic and rowing programs which will challenge me constantly. CGA staff, teachers, and my rowing fraternity are very supportive and provide the right environment for me to thrive and be the best I can be in all I do. Also, being around other amazing students at CGA who are high achievers and motivated people has shown me many new pathways.”

Looking forward, Ariel sees both CGA and rowing as crucial stepping stones toward her goals. The supportive environment at CGA, coupled with the opportunities presented by rowing, positions her well for future academic and athletic pursuits.

Her advice to other student-athletes underscores the importance of communication, organization, and enjoying the journey. “Discuss your dreams with your family. It is fantastic to know they always have your back and are supporting you. Discuss your goals with CGA staff and teachers, whilst being open to change and new opportunities. Being organized is very important to handle sports and schooling. Most importantly, have fun and follow your passions!”