Arlington runner becomes a rower

Jensyn Smith of Arlington signs a letter of intent to become a member of the rowing team at WSU. (Steve Powell/Staff Photo)

Jensyn Smith of Arlington signs a letter of intent to become a member of the rowing team at WSU. (Steve Powell/Staff Photo)

ARLINGTON – When Jensyn Smith got burned out running she took to the water – not to swim but to row.

The senior at Arlington High School has only been rowing for a year. But she’s gotten good enough to sign a letter of intent recently to join the crew team at Washington State University.

Smith had been competing for the Eagles in cross country and track, having gone to state in both. She ran the 800 meters, mile, 2 mile and 4-by-400 relay in track. She said the endurance she built up doing all that running is what helps her excel at rowing. Plus she’s strong for her size because she loves to work out.

Smith said it was hard to leave the Eagle teams because she was “super close” to some of the coaches and her teammates. But when she told friend Olivia Kraski how burned out she was, Kraski recommended they try rowing, as her sister had done it and liked it.

“What the heck is rowing?” Smith said she asked. “I’d never done it.”

The school doesn’t have a team, so she joined a club in Everett.

Smith has tried pairs, 4-person and 8-person shells, but the last one is her favorite.

“It’s a teamwork thing,” she said, adding she doesn’t want to let the others down. “Everyone else is pushing as hard as you are.”

The Everett rowing team practices weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on the Snohomish River. Meets are Saturdays, usually in the Seattle area at Lake Washington, Green Lake or Lake Union. But they have also gotten to travel to places like Boston and San Diego.

She’ll be practicing on the Snake River at WSU, which was her first choice for college since her parents went there.

A few years ago she thought she might run cross country in college, but she’s happy with the switch.

She likes the “team unity.” Smith said she has to go all out all the time because with “others around me I can’t slow down.”

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