Name: Chris Light
High School: Booker T. Washington (’08)
University: Gonzaga (’12)
1) Why did you decide to join Tulsa Rowing Club Juniors?
I joined the Tulsa Juniors because I had a family friend who had tried it from Holland Hall. Her father suggested that I become a coxswain because of my size and my attitude, and he figured I would really enjoy it. (he was right, he knows me quite well)
2) How many years have you coxed?
I started coxing one month before my freshman year started and I have been hooked ever since. I just started my collegiate chapter, but I attended a competitive summer development camp in the summer of 2007 to enhance my skills as well.
3) What do you enjoy most about coxing?
I enjoy being in control and responsible. Coxing allows you to bring your own touch, style if you will, to the sport of rowing (this comes with time). The flow and the rhythm of a rowing shell is unlike anything I can think of, once you experience this, think of controlling and commanding that rhythm and flow. And then try to think what a race would be like at full pressure! Also correcting technique, motivation, and safety are key parts of a coxswains job as well, we make them go fast.
4) What was you most enjoyable moment in the coxswain seat and why?
My most enjoyable moment in the coxswain seat was probably at our central district regatta in OKC in 2007. The 1500 meter final in the mens 8+. We were racing all of our district rivals, namely St. Louis and Austin. The majority of the race was pretty close and hard fought, and closing in on the 300 meter mark, we were still in the lead by about half a length. At this point St. Louis started making their move and they moved quickly. In about the last 10-15 strokes we managed to hold them off and become district champions, It Was Awesome! My favorite part in this was announcing where we lined up against these boats, the last 300 meters were close, “got their 6, then 7, WE GOT EM!
5) What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about coxing for the first time?
It doesn’t hurt to try anything for one. Two, if you are cut out for it (i.e. small stature or 120lbs and you enjoy leadership) I guarantee this will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever try.
6) What are the most important personality traits that a coxswain should possess?
Some important or favorable personality traits in relation to coxing would be… Persistence, in fixing your crew and making them go fast, MOTIVATION, this is one of your most important jobs, Creativity, to come up with inspiring words or simply phrases that make your rowers go fast, and quick thinking. Remember, safety and steering are your responsibility so you need to make quick decisions when under pressure.
7) What is the biggest thing that you notice that is different about college coxing from juniors coxing?
Collegiate rowing (or my camp experience) is something different. At the junior level rowers are just getting started, technically speaking and some aren’t sure of their commitment level. At this level everyone knows what they are there to do and they would not be there if they didn’t know what it takes to compete at this level. There is already a presence of dedication and hard work right off the bat.