Kit Dulin remembers the first time her daughter won a gold medal in rowing. Then again, it’s hard to forget.
It was during the summer of 2018, a year after Grace Dulin began rowing. She led her eight boat to a gold medal at a national regatta on the Schuylkill River. Kit Dulin also remembers this: Her daughter’s eight boat launched off the Temple rowing team’s dock.
The story became even more special on Nov. 13, when the Maryville senior home school student signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her rowing career at Temple University. Grace Dulin, who competed for Oak Ridge’s Atomic Rowing, is returning to the same boathouse and waters where she captured her first gold medal.
“(Temple) is getting a really hard worker,” Atomic head coach John Davis told The Daily Times. “In the last year or so, she has just improved massively. Rowing is really a sport that rewards hard work. She just gets something in her mind and she works and works until the problem is solved.
“We are really proud of Gracie. She’s a real asset to our team. I know she will be an asset to Temple as well.”
Before her rowing career, Grace Dulin never considered herself much of an athlete. She had tried all of the sports — swimming, cross country, volleyball, basketball — but didn’t really care for them. Instead, she preferred to read. She decided to attend a novice rowing camp during the summer before her freshman. She loved it; she’s kept rowing the rest of summer.
“It was the first sport that clicked,” Grace Dulin said. “It was like, ‘Oh, I enjoy this, and it’s a sport I can be good at.’ So I kept doing it.”
And she labored tirelessly to improve. Throughout her time in high school, Grace Dulin has rowed six times a day throughout the year. She also increased her strength and conditioning through weight training and long runs.
“If I give her a technical challenge like, ‘You need to do this part of the stroke better,’ she just works and works,” Davis said. “You don’t have to push her because she pushes herself very hard. She’s very inquisitive. She asks a lot of questions. In rowing, she’s a student of the sport. She knows all about the colleges. She knows about the international teams. … She always asks questions about what she can do all the time. She’s a very good athlete, very strong rower.”
It wasn’t long until Davis began attracting interest from colleges. She used the quarantine in March as an opportunity to focus on her recruitment. She instantly connected with Temple rowing head coach Rebecca Grzybowski and assistant coach Julia Rorer. Temple University also checked off all the boxes. She liked the rowers and the university’s political science program. She committed in late May.
Davis has no doubt she will continue to thrive in the City of Brotherly Love.
“She’s going to have a very good Division I career,” Davis said. “Temple is lucky to have her. There are a lot of places she could have gone, a lot of places that were interested in her. Temple got a good one. … She’s able to be a really good student and a really good athlete at the same time. She’s the model for the student athlete.”