• A Rower Abroad

    One student shares his account of traveling with members of UChicago’s Crew Club to the City of Lights

Article by Hans Glick, AB’14. Glick is also president of the University of Chicago Crew Club.

Well before dawn on the morning of September 20, four of my teammates and I woke up, grabbed our things, and piled into a van—a standard-issue pre-dawn ritual for members of The University of Chicago Crew Club. But this time, instead of heading to our site on the Chicago River to log another practice row, we bid au revoir to the Windy City and caught a flight to Paris, where, for the second consecutive year, our program represented university and country alike at an annual rowing event on the Seine.

The Traversée des Hauts-de-Seine et de Paris is a scenic, non-competitive row of thirty-four kilometers that loops through the heart of Paris and alongside some of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame.

This was the second consecutive year that our club was invited to take part in the Traversée by a Paris-area rowing club in collaboration with the Paris Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International. The trip was sponsored in part by the University with about half of the trip paid for with team funds. The University of Chicago Crew is one of the largest club sports on campus, and is entirely student-run.

Taking part in the event on behalf of the University were fourth-year students Dhruv Kedar, Anna Arsenault, and Sarah Granger, and third-year students Erin Ferguson and myself. Head coach Trish Brubaker rounded out the UChicago contingent. A selection committee of current and former rowers considered criteria including demonstrated leadership ability, commitment to the program, and an essay submission in choosing the lineup.

Our time in Paris was a blast—on and off the water. The row itself was unlike any other from the moment we first sat down in our boat, an antique wooden craft on loan from our hosts at a local rowing club. As we rowed to the starting line with hundreds of other crews, we were cheered when people caught sight of the boldface "CHICAGO" splashed across the backs of our maroon jackets. Three hours of nearly continuous rowing later, we enjoyed a festive outdoor meal with our newfound rowing compatriots, and event organizers presented us with an award for having traveled the farthest to take part in the row. Crew teams came from the Netherlands, Ireland and other European nations to take part in the annual event.

Back on land, we had no shortage of opportunities to soak up Parisian culture. We explored many of Paris' arrondissements and landmarks and scarfed down hors d'oeuvres and rubbed elbows with a former French prime minister at the upscale debut of a Mary Cassatt exhibit at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art and Culture. We also enjoyed an unconscionable amount of decadent food, including, but not limited to, baguettes, French cheese, French wine, all manner of crêpes, more French wine, and falafel in Le Marais. Our trip also reunited us with fourth-year rower Sophia Arabadjis, who is currently studying abroad at the University of Chicago Center in Paris.

Our club is grateful for the opportunity to represent our school and city in such memorable fashion. We look forward to helping strengthen the bond between rowing communities a world apart for years to come.