Charlottesville’s Ava Schetlick among nation’s elite in junior rowing

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 7:33 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2021 at 8:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The best rowers in the world were in Tokyo this week, competing in the Olympic Games.

Three former UVA rowers made it to the medal stand, as Susanne Grainger (’13) and Christine Roper (’11) took home gold for Canada in the women’s eight, and Hannah Osborne won silver for New Zealand in the double sculls.

One of the best junior rowers in the nation could be found at the Rivanna Reservoir, putting her boat in the water shortly after sunrise.

“I’m definitely a morning person,” says 16-year-old Ava Schetlick. “I don’t mind being up this early, but yeah, rowers tend to get up really early.”

A single scull is around 27-feet in length, and weighs 30-pounds.

“The single, it’s light, easy,” says Schetlick. “You can carry it like a backpack. "

It’s all routine for Schetlick, as she started rowing when she was 11-years-old.

“My awesome older brother started rowing a little before me,” says Schetlick. “He fell in love with the sport, and I decided to give it a try. Lucky enough, I also fell in love with the sport. It’s a beautiful sport, and I absolutely love it.”

Schetlick’s older brother, Robby, competes with the Virginia Rowing Association at UVA.

“It’s awesome having the family support, but also, I don’t only see him as a brother,” says Ava Schetlick. “I see him as a coach, a mentor. He’s honestly been the best in this whole process.”

This summer Ava Schetlick was invited to the US Rowing Under 19 Women’s National Team Selection Camp, and she worked with the US Rowing coaches at the Olympic Training Center in California.

Schetlick says, “I got to compete against the fastest girls in the country. It’s just seat racing, and seat racing, and seat racing. Basically racing all the other people there.”

She followed that up by rowing in the winning boat in quadruple sculls at the U-19 National Championships in New Jersey.

College recruiting is next for the 6-foot-2 rising junior at St. Anne’s-Belfield.

“Definitely want to be in the fastest boats I can be in, and find a great team that can suit me,” says Schetlick. “But I row because I love it, and it’s a pleasure to be in a boat, all the time. I row because I love the sport, rather than get into college, and that’s kind of the best part.”

Ava Schetlick is currently training for the Head of the Charles Regatta, which will be held in Boston in late October.

It is the largest two-day regatta in the world, with 11-thousand athletes rowing in 61 events.

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