Theresa Osborne had never rowed until she came to the University of Tampa. Four years later, the Michigan City, Ind. native earned a scholarship.
After a high school career riddled with knee injuries, Osborne wanted to participate in a sport at the collegiate level but knew her injuries would limit her possibilities.
‘Having to re-define myself after injuries was the toughest part because I had to shift focus to become a better leader,’ said Osborne.
The exercise science major has earned a 3.90 cumulative GPA through her four years at the university on top of having practices at 6 a.m., six days a week.
Having to balance her early morning workouts with her full academic schedule was something the senior had to get used to.
‘I am not naturally smart so I had to spend a lot of time on my class work, and working on my time management skills. It’s what it takes to succeed when you’re in my position,’ said Osborne.
Osborne alternates between being a rower and being the coxswain. The coxswain is usually referred to as the person in charge of the boat.
Her duties require her to make sure the steering and navigation of the boat are all in proper form so the entire team can function as one.
‘When you’re on the water, you have to know what you are doing because you are in charge of the boat. You are the coach on the water and have to tell everyone exactly what to do. It’s not what you say out there, but how you say it,’ said Osborne.
Although early morning practices are quite demanding, Osborne takes them day-by-day and looks at them in a positive light.
The senior enjoys the tranquility of the still river as the rising sun’s rays warm her face, shouting commands to her team as they glide across the surface of the water in one unified fluid motion.
‘To wake up and have to be that focused and doing something that you love is very rewarding and is something that unifies the team. You have this sense of completeness within you,’ said Osborne.
At The University of Tampa, the senior has been able to benefit from her decision to pursue rowing.
Starting off on the lightweight team as a freshman, she eventually worked her way up to the varsity team.
Now, she performs as part of the team, and is also the head rowing coach at the Academy of the Holy Names high school in Tampa.
‘At first you feel awkward and are worried about the position of your body and the proper techniques, but once you get used to it and really set your mind to it, you really benefit from it in the long run.
‘If you are able to push yourself outside the water, the benefits in the water will come quicker than you think,’ Osborne said.
Four years and countless hours on the water later, Osborne is enjoying a hard-earned scholarship, in a sport she did not start until her first year in college.
Zach Place can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.