Caroline Schuckle rows on to college


Provided by Schuckel

Schuckel celebrates a win at the 2019 Championships

Jacey Hinton, Staff Writer

In the four years since she started rowing, senior Caroline Schuckel has broken three world records on the erg, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of her success. Schuckel began rowing at 14 during her freshman year and now leads the varsity crew team, and will continue her rowing career at Princeton University this upcoming fall.

“Being part of the rowing team has been my favorite part of high school,” Schuckel said. “I obviously didn’t know this throughout all of high school, but being part of the rowing team has opened [up] a lot of opportunities for me that I never thought was possible, so I can’t really look back and say anything else.” 

Schuckel was first introduced to the sport by her mom, who encouraged her to try it because of the advantages she would have by being tall. 

“I was really skeptical at first, but after the first day, I loved it,” Schuckel said.

Rowing is a year-round commitment with competition season taking place mid-spring through the end of October.From the end of October to March is typically indoor season, especially in the Northeast. As a student-athlete, Schuckel was able to use her schedule to stay on top of her school work.

“I found the work-life balance with crew to be really positive. I found that having less time actually forces me to be more productive and not procrastinate. I’ve learned to do assignments when I get them,” Schuckel said. 

As a freshman, Schuckel’s goal was just to make the first novice boat. Then, as a sophomore, she made varsity, and as a junior, she made first varsity boat and went to Head of the Charles, a highly competitive regatta.

As simple as it sounds, Schuckel believes that her success did not come without challenge. At the end of her sophomore year, she missed her opportunity to compete for a boat at nationals. This upset led to Schuckel’s decision to start training twice a day. Schuckel woke up before school at 5:30 a.m. and trained on her own and would also attend team practice after school. 

“My biggest challenge, as cheesy as it sounds, has been believing in myself,” Schuckel said. “Especially when I started my recruiting process, I was not as fast or at that expected Division 1 caliber.  So as I got better I had to have a lot of confidence in myself — my ability, who I am as a person, what I would add to a team.  To reach out to coaches and to put myself in a position where I felt qualified, I had to believe that I am.” 

Schuckel saw 2020 as a breakthrough year, as she placed first in the single at the Northeast Virtual Championship and sixth at the National Virtual Championship. In the same year she broke three world records: Under 16 Erg Marathon, Under 18 Erg Marathon on Sliders, and Under 18 Erg Half-Marathon on Sliders.

Schuckel is now team captain and has been recruited to a school that can be seen as one of the most prestigious rowing programs in the country, Princeton University. 

“I am most looking forward to having more school recognition for my sport. I think that is something that’s been kind of challenging about rowing: [it involves] off-campus races that nobody could come to at 6 a.m. The team at Princeton is over 100 years old. People come to watch,” Schuckel said, expressing her excitement to be a part of Princeton University’s rowing team.