A true single lady

Raiya Myren's senior year has literally been a real trip; next stop: rowing at Rice University


Myren begins to rig her single at the Head of the Charles regatta last October.

Sarah Slaten, staff reporter

The Shield: How long have you been rowing?

Raiya Myren: I learned how to row the summer before 6th grade, 2014 I think, but I didn’t start rowing competitively until my sophomore year of high school.

TS: What’s your favorite part about rowing?

RM: I love how much it pushed me, both physically and socially. It’s one of those sports that teaches you that what you think you’re capable of, and what you’re actually capable of are more different that you realize, in a good way. It also helped me learn how to be a good teammate, which always seemed daunting as an introvert.

TS: I’m a rower, so I have to ask- sculling or sweeping (sculling has two oars, sweeping has one)?

RM: Sculling! When I first learned how to row I loved sculling and thought sweeping was the worst. For a while I actually preferred sweeping because my best races were sweep events, but this year all of my priority  lineups were sculling and I was glad to be back.

On April 14, Myren (second from left) celebrates with the rest of her varsity quad after placing third in their race at Texas Rowing Championships.

TS: What is your favorite boat?

RM: My favorite type of boat to be in is a quad, which has four people sculling, so everybody has two oars, but my favorite physical, actual boat is a single named the Kahout! I rowed it almost exclusively in the fall, as I was training for the Head of the Charles and the Head of the Hooch.

TS: What has been your favorite memory this year?

RM: My favorite fall memory is getting to go to the Head of the Charles. When my coach told me I was going to row a single at Charles I panicked.I had never raced one before, and I thought I was going to fail dramatically. To my surprise, I never flipped or hit anything, and I managed not to lose any races. My favorite spring memory was going to the San Diego Crew Classic in my varsity quad. We had two-a-day practices all during Spring Break, so this trip felt like the beach vacation we missed out on. Plus, I got to wet launch for the first time, when you launch your boats from the water not from the dock, and that was pretty exciting. We also got to race against teams I had never seen before, and walk around in beautiful California.

On May 14, Myren and other seniors planning to row in college were recognized at their club, Texas Rowing Center. Myren, who plans to row at Rice, is excited for her upcoming year.

TS: What are you going to miss most about rowing?

RM: I’m going to miss my teammates and beautiful Lady Bird Lake! This year especially I have gotten really close with my team, and it’s going to be really hard to say goodbye. Luckily Rice Crew races in Austin a few times a year so I’ll get to see everyone in a rowing setting again.

TS: So you’re going to Rice for college, and you’re going to be rowing there? What do you expect that to be like?

RM: Yes, I’m going to be rowing on Rice’s crew team next year. It’s probably going to be a big transition because it is a small program and most people have never rowed before, but it will allow me to continue the sport I love without eating up all y free time. I’m excited to get coaching from different perspectives and become a leader for new rowers.

TS: How do you think your school year went?

RM: My senior year was pretty crazy. I took 9 classes this year, 8 in the fall, 9 in the spring, with 8 of them being AP or OnRamps, which is not something that I would necessarily recommend. When I look back I wonder how I had time for everything, but I still had a really good year.

TS: Do you have any advice for rising seniors?

RM: My one piece of advice to rising seniors is that senior year, especially the fall, is really hectic with college apps and scholarships, etc., so you need to be kind to yourself and your friends. Everyone is pretty much going through the same thing and they are doing the best that they can, so don’t take it too personally if relationships shift. And finally: everything tends to work itself out in the end. Just because your future didn’t turn out the way you expected doesn’t mean you failed or will be any worse. I never expected to become a varsity athlete, as an asthmatic nerd, but I am so happy I did.

TS: Overall, how did your rowing year go?

RM: It was unexpectedly challenging and rewarding. In the fall I was forced to overcome my biggest rowing fear: racing a single. The weather this year was pretty extreme, with all the flooding and wind. Multiple regattas were cancelled or shortened due to inclement weather, but it taught us resilience and helped us get in shape with all the land training. I re-found my love of sculling and raced in the varsity quad all spring. I think even with all the ups and downs, this was my favorite year of rowing, and I can’t wait for many more.

Myren (in the front of the boat) races with her varsity quad in San Diego on April 7. Finishing out a great weekend, her quad placed third in their C Final after a stellar race.