Clayton-Bradley Academy’s athletics offer opportunities for all types of athletes. With girls volleyball, cross country, flag football, men’s and women’s basketball and tennis some students however choose to play for other teams for sports not offered, like gymnastics, baseball, track and rowing.

Rowing is an unusual sport as it requires extreme physical fitness as well as superb technical ability. It demands a lot from its rowers and rewards highly dedicated driven team members, something Clayton-Bradley does its best to foster through the school. Several CBA students participate in rowing at different clubs in the region. TriStar Rowing, a new club for Blount and Knox County, has found its place for CBA rowers — as well as Atomic Rowing — in Oak Ridge.

CBA Students participating with these clubs have found great success. They have placed at major regattas, been ranked among the top 10 fastest rowers in their age groups in Tennessee and recently been invited to a US Rowing Association Olympic Development Camp.

Finding success in the sport is no small feat. Rowers train year-round for races that last only seven minutes. The process begins in summer. Rowers either attend their teams summer program or attend college and US Rowing official camps. This helps athletes develop better confidence in the boat. TriStar offers a summer program that focuses on developing young athletes in all areas. This summer the Brown University Sculling coach will be teaching an intensive week of camp. Atomic also offers a similar program on a year round calendar.

Next is fall season. Fall season builds the endurance of athletes, they race longer distances and practice by rowing slow and steady for a long time. Fall is known as “Head Race Season.” These head races are time trials for 5,000 meters. CBA students have head raced in North Carolina, Georgia, Nashville and Oak Ridge.

Winter season is a dreaded time for rowers. Unable to get on the water, they take to the gym. Lifting, running and time on the erg (rowing machine) is designed to prepare them for spring season. Competition still exists, the Tennessee Indoor Rowing Championships are highly competitive putting athletes on the erg to race against each other. Spring season is the peak of the rowing year. The race distance is 2,000 meters, called sprint races. Boats are side by side and athletes have to “endurance sprint” for seven minutes. It is exciting, painful and inspiring.

Where does CBA find its place in rowing? CBA fosters the same value as rowing, to push hold yourself to a high standard, work hard and be a member of the team. Rowing is nothing if not a team sport. Rowers must synch their bodies, their oars and their minds to achieve to common goal. When you find yourself in a boat you have a desire to give every ounce of strength you have for your team. CBA want to build leaders, educators, innovators and citizens who will do the same through their lives. This doesn’t mean perfection, it means using what you’ve got to make a difference.

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