URI’s senior rowing team members ready for future

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KINGSTON, R.I. – May 13, 2008 – Balancing a full load of classes and 20 hours of training each week — including grueling 5 a.m. practices — while maintaining better than a 3.0 grade point average would seem near impossible for some.

However, four members of the University of Rhode Island rowing team have done it throughout their careers. Amy VanRensburg, Tamara Burman, Lucy Sumners and Linnea Rowse have excelled in school and in their sport. They will receive their bachelors’ degrees on May 18th at URI’s 122nd Commencement.

A native of Bolingbrooke, Ill., VanRensburg majored in history and maintained a 3.18 GPA. Her experience with the University has been enjoyable, and she loves both the campus and the school as a whole.

“I plan to take a year off and travel, visiting Taiwan, Sydney and Chile,” VanRensburg said. “Hopefully, I’ll do a little rowing in Sydney but nothing too serious – just for fun. Once I get back, I plan on getting my master’s degree in conflict and dispute resolution, which focuses on how to promote peace and non-violent resolution on an international scale.”

Burman is an honors student from Woonsocket, R.I. who is majoring in kinesiology. She was a swimmer in high school, but had no plans to compete in a sport while in college. However, she was recruited to the rowing team, and it’s a decision that she does not regret.

“Being a part of the crew team has really helped me grow as a person. I learned a lot about myself and have made some great friends,” said Burman. “We often did a lot of fundraising, and I think this helped me as a person and being able to manage money. Having such a demanding schedule really helps with time management, which is something that will be extremely helpful when I graduate and get a job.”

After graduation Burman plans to go to graduate school to study physical therapy and then work within either fitness and wellness or sports recreation.

Sumners is from Gainesville, Fla. and has always found the faculty to be helpful and understanding. Whether it was an issue with one of her classes or a conflict with rowing, she said they were always a great help. This summer, Sumners will be heading to Raleigh, N.C. to intern at a museum.

“Rowing is a big part of my life and I will continue it this summer with Mobjack Rowing Association in Matthews, Va. I will compete in summer nationals and then go on to compete in the Canadian Henley Regatta,” Sumners said.

Rowse, of Burnsville, Minn., spent her time at the University concentrating on wildlife and conservation biology and maintained a 3.88 average. On top of all her training, Rowse managed to be a volunteer with the Wildlife Society. She plans to work for a year and then attend graduate school to get her master’s degree of science, most likely in ornithology, the study of birds.

“I would love to continue rowing, but it just depends on what area I end up in. If the conditions are right, I’ll definitely row,” Rowse said.

These graduates also have other options if they want to continue to compete. “You can either get accepted into the U.S. training facility where you can row for the national team and then eventually pursue the Olympics, or you can row for a varsity team and then eventually join a master’s program once you hit the age of 26,” said Sumners.

Photo: URI crew team members (l-r) Linnea Rowse, Lucy Sumners, Amy VanRensburg, and Tamara Burman will graduate from the University of Rhode Island on May 18.