Ronnie Bennett

Simmons Crew Team Competes in the Head of the Charles

What are you studying at Simmons?

I'm majoring in nursing and minoring in biostatistics.

What drew you to your major?

The idea of nursing came to me during my junior year of high school when I realized that I have a passion for helping people. At that time — and still today — I could not sit still and feared having to work in a cubicle. I attended an Allied Health program during my senior year in high school where I was able to go into the hospital and observe nurses performing their work in various medical specialties. I would love to be a part of researching new therapies and cures to improve healthcare and the quality of life for people.

How did you get involved with rowing crew?

I started rowing when I was a freshman in high school when my school created a crew club. I wanted a spring sport to stay in shape for swimming because that was my main sport at that time. I had a great first season of rowing, kept improving each year, and eventually swimming became the sport to stay in shape for crew. On my recruitment visit to Simmons, the crew team accepted me like I already belonged, and I knew it was the right team to join. 

Tell us about competing in the Head of the Charles.

It's the biggest regatta in the world! The Simmons Crew team likes to call it “Rower’s Christmas” because it's accompanied by a strong energy similar to the holidays.

Competing in Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) is a privilege and real treat for me. The HOCR is a classic and prestigious rowing event, and it's hard to get an entry. Entries are earned by placing top half in the event the year before or by basically pulling teams from a hat. Teams come from across the globe and it's a big honor and a lot of fun to be a part of that. The whole 6,000 meters of the course are filled with vendors and fans. There is never enough time to take it all in, I wish the event lasted the whole week! 

What are you most excited for at the Head of the Charles?

This will be my third HOCR race with Simmons! I'm most excited to race and to see many of my crew friends from other schools and clubs. I'm also excited to watch both of the Simmons crew coaches compete this weekend with their clubs. The HOCR racecourse spans from the BU boathouse to the Northeastern boathouse. There are many turns that require hard power from the rowers and precision from the coxswains — and lots of bridges with fans cheering from above. The whole race is exciting and super powerful!  

What seat in the boat are you?

This season I am 7 seat in the boat. I'm the rower right behind the stroke who is the lead rower in front of the coxswain. In the past I have rowed in bow, 2, and 6 seats. I enjoy moving around the boat where I can see different perspectives.

How do you balance being a student athlete?

As I write this at midnight before my clinical rotation tomorrow, I admit that it can get difficult at times. I realize I'm more productive when I'm busy. The demanding mental and physical requirements of nursing and rowing respectively balance each other well by keeping me disciplined and focused. I set academic and athletic goals that I work for each day. I keep working at them to be the best I can be at both.

What's your favorite sports moment in your Simmons career?

The spring of my first year when we won our first race! It was at the Clark Invitational in Worcester, MA. It was one of my first times rowing there and in that line up of rowers. The entire race was painful and I couldn’t breathe. We had a fast start and could see the other boats already. We executed our race plan and by the end, we had “open water” (lots of space) between us and the other boats. After the race, when the pain died down and we could talk again, we hugged and said congrats to each other. That was a fun time and it created the basis of excitement for the team at that venue.

What's your Simmons moment?

I have a Simmons moment almost every day around 6:00 a.m. when I see the breathtaking sunrise behind the Boston skyline. During that time the colorful light shines on me as I work hard rowing with my friends. I love how each sunrise is different from the other which keeps it special and brings a unique day with many possibilities.

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