It was 49 degrees and windy. The river in front of Griggs Reservoir Boathouse was cold and full of debris.
It’s unlikely that it’s the first place many people want to be at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning, but the Ohio State’s women’s rowing team was out on the water.
The Buckeyes’ expectations are high this season, as they are ranked No. 1 in the College Rowing Coaches Association/U.S. Rowing preseason top 20, and have two consecutive championships under their belt. OSU backed up those preseason accolades with 18 wins in its first 22 races of the season, spanning across four meets.
Annie Jachthuber, a freshman rower, said the team is incredibly dedicated to the sport and the high stakes motivate them to work hard every day.
Jachthuber added that she has been rowing since her senior year in high school, where she tried many different sports. But she said rowing was her favorite because of the team dynamic.
“I don’t do things for myself; I like to do things for other people,” she said.
After Monday’s practice, Jachthuber walked into the boathouse, which opened in 2011, and through a white hallway lined with pictures of the team’s past successes. There are two types of pictures: Those with the smiling faces of champions, and action shots filled with faces of concentration.
Jachthuber turned through a doorway and joined the other rowers in the OSU team room, which is full of floor-to-ceiling windows that face the waterfront in the middle of the boathouse.
Coach Andy Teitelbaum, who has been with the rowing program since its birth in 1995, stood in the center of the room surrounded by his team, all of it bathed in the morning light reflected off the water. He dished out final words before the team huddled together, putting their hands in for a last hurrah before the rowers headed off to class.
When asked how he feels about the team’s current rank and the pressure to perform, he jokingly said he was “outraged.”
But then Teitelbaum laughed, saying he is filled with pride and that the team performs in “tremendous fashion.”
With a wide smile he added, “This group is outstanding.”
Teitelbaum said the road to the two championships and the team’s current standing have been humbling and that he is quite pleased with the status of his team.
Jachthuber echoed her coach’s feelings and said one day her grandmother called and asked if there was ever a time when Jachthuber did not feel like pushing herself. She said she had replied, “No.” She said the dedication of the other girls and the solidarity while practicing drives them all, no matter how unfavorable the elements might be.
“I love being a part of something bigger than myself,” Jachthuber said. “You do it for each other.”
With seven meets standing between the Buckeyes and the Big Ten Championships on May 16, OSU is set to return to the water against Minnesota on Saturday. Fittingly, the races are set to begin at 8:15 a.m. in Columbus.