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Digital Subscriptions > Row360 > Issue 028 – Jul | Aug 2019 > FADING AWAY


A silent problem in the rowing community

There is a silent problem in the rowing community. It stands at odds with the emblematic belief that rowing fosters the best, strongest, and healthiest attitudes in all of us.

It’s called the Skittles diet, my coxswain whispered one night before a race. In the 24 hours before weigh-ins, you wear layered workout gear and blankets and sit in a hot car to sweat out the last desperate pounds. Thirsty? Not a problem. Simply suck on a Skittle to help alleviate that thirst. To help forget the lengths to which you’re willing to go.

We heard the stories, of course, of our college peers managing to get their hands on Adderall to help them study through the night. Did they know the athletes were using it to dull the hunger pains? To get through another day on yogurt and a banana?

Every week, my college pair partner told me, their high school coach would print out a sheet of paper and staple it to the boathouse bulletin board. On the paper was a table with three columns for your name, weight, and 2k. Name, weight, then time. As if the more significant factor in defining those athletes was not the speed they carried into the boat, but the number on the scale.

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About Row360

Welcome to Row360, the world’s only global, independent rowing magazine. Row360 brings you features from around the world, profiling the best athletes, coaches, and others from the whole rowing community – Olympic, adaptive, college, club, ocean, and more.