Originally a volleyball and basketball player looking for a spring sport, Emma Nealis (’14) was not born into the crew culture like other ASL students. During her freshman year, the prospect of a crew team-sponsored weeklong trip to the sunny Spanish city of Seville with her friends enticed Nealis to join the team and pick up the sport.
From that point on, Nealis never looked back, developing each of her strengths and won the womens J16 Single Sculls National Schools Regatta last year.
Head Girls Crew Coach Chris Clark said that Nealis has the “potential and work ethic needed to become an Olympic athlete. If she continues working hard, she can go all the way.”
Nealis trains everyday except Fridays with the ASL crew team and sometimes with the University of London rowing team. On Mondays and Wednesdays, she works out in the gym on a specialized weight program, and practices technique on the ergometer. Tuesdays and Thursdays are spent training on the river for around 2 hours. On weekends, Nealis participates in races all over London.
Nealis acknowledges that her gruelling training schedule and race calendar consumes a large part of her life and requires wise time management. “I definitely don’t have as much free time as some of my friends and can’t procrastinate when I’m doing schoolwork,” she said. “But I’m working towards my future and doing something I love.”
Nealis doesn’t have any concrete plans for her future and wants to see how far she can go in rowing.
“Right now the only longer term goal I have is to perhaps try out for the U.S. national team,” she said. “Other than that, I just want to see where rowing takes me.”