Eva Cain rows through senior year
By Jett Legry, Reporter
Waking up at 3:30 in the morning for regattas and flying across the country to compete is what Eva Cain, a 12th grader at Vashon Island High School, has gotten used to with her position on the Vashon Island Rowing Club (VIRC).
Cain began rowing for VIRC in eighth grade, and in the four years since has become the captain of the team.
“What got me to stay is the camaraderie that is on the team. Everybody is just so supportive of you, and really wants you to succeed. Every single practice there’s just such a positive energy. It’s just a safe space for people. And that’s what’s really special about it,” Cain said.
Originally when she started, she was one of three girls on the team, and it was led by two male captains. As the captain, she hopes to be the role model for the new girls that she didn’t have starting out.
“One thing that really made me want to take on that role is just to give the newer girls coming in on the team a role model… and also I want to be a person that they can talk to and feel comfortable around,” Cain said.
Ben Steele, the head rowing coach at VIRC, has been coaching Cain since she started rowing.
“When I met Eva, she was really quiet and pretty shy and just trying to find her way in the team. [Seeing] how good of a leader she’s turned into, how caring she is for her teammates, and just the attitude that she brings and sets for the rest of the rowers on the team really stands out to me as a coach,” Steele said.
Cain believes that the sport of rowing, although tough, isn’t as selective as it is sometimes portrayed.
“I think there’s a spot for everyone. It can be kind of intimidating to see some of the… huge, six foot five, really strong people. That is kind of the stereotype… But I think it is really a sport for everybody and nobody should be afraid to join,” Cain said.
Cain is always looking for ways to improve her rowing skills, and her team practices five days of the week for three hours each day. This time intensive training regime doesn’t stop because of the seasons like other sports as there is a fall, winter, spring and summer season with only short breaks in between.
“Ever since I joined, I have loved how there’s always something that can be improved and something that you can work on. No stroke is perfect. It’s fun to strive for that perfection… I’m still working on little things to improve, and it’s just a constant process,” Cain said.
Cain evokes this same positive and hardworking energy in her teammates as she raises their spirits during training and regattas.
“She’s always there, uplifting her teammates. She’s extremely consistent and dedicated to what she does to her craft. She works extremely hard. It’s always a teammate first, it’s never about her. It’s always about the team,” Steele said.
Cain recently returned from competing in the Head of the Charles 2022, an international regatta in Boston, and it was her second year competing. Last year, the team ended the race in the top half of teams, and this year they had their boat’s fastest time ever.
“When you’re rowing with people, there is this moment where if you’re all synced up at the exact same time, and you’re all pushing really hard and going really fast and it’s just kind of [a] magical feeling where everybody in your boat has to be doing the exact same thing at the exact same time, which I think is really unique about rowing,” Cain said.
There is no rest for the weary as, only days after returning from Boston, Cain still has to prepare for the rest of the fall season’s regattas.