By Katrina Craycroft
The rising sun reflects off the waters of White Rock Lake and into the eyes of Amanda Perry, Head Girls Coach at Dallas United Crew (DUC). The shimmer is broken only by the silhouetted crews awaiting her insight. For Ohio State’s latest Hall of Famer, the reflections are internal too, “I love where I am now; it feels like a calling. I could never have predicted that twenty years ago.”
On her own to pay for college, Amanda chose Ohio State so she could live at home and work while studying music. Her freshman year, Amanda carpooled with her bandmate, Sandra, who wanted to try rowing. At Ohio State, women’s rowing is the counterweight to football’s massive roster, balancing the scales of Title IX. Yet, the United States does not produce enough rowers to meet the collegiate demand. So, rowing coaches recruit from abroad and scour their campus for women willing to give it a try. Preferring exercise to the boredom of waiting for Sandra, Amanda walked on, too. New to the sport, and surrounded by World Champions imported to power the Buckeyes’ boats, Amanda felt out of place. So, in the Spring of 2001, she switched to OSU’s club team.
With the club, Amanda found encouragement and belonging. Seeing her potential, Coach Chuck Rodosky entered her in the 2003 World Indoor Rowing Championships (C.R.A.S.H.-B’s) in Boston. In these 2,000-meter ergometer (rowing machine) races, a woman with a time of 7 minutes, 15 seconds will be highly sought after by the most prestigious collegiate rowing teams. Many women will never break 7:30. Amanda was nervous, but she surprised herself and everyone else, rowing 6:48 and besting 291 experienced rowers to win the Women’s Collegiate Open. Coach Andy Teitelbaum of Ohio State jumped at the chance to recruit both Amanda and Rodosky.
Amanda was fast, but “Ergs don’t float” is the old saw. Her stroke and blade-work were rudimentary, but on her side was an indomitable work ethic ingrained by hard-working parents and a lot of encouragement from her teammates. Amanda went on to lead Ohio State’s first varsity eight to its first ever Number 1 ranking in 2004. In 2005, among other accolades, the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association named Amanda a First Team All-American. With Amanda, Ohio State became a powerhouse in Rowing, and she earned her place in the Buckeye’s Hall of Fame.
After graduation, Amanda went into coaching, first at Ohio State, then at Brown, Virginia, Cornell and Indiana. In 2017, she took the reins of DUC’s girls varsity team. “Rowing is a huge sport with huge opportunities. It shows these girls that they can take control, and I want them to understand that, to get the lightbulb,” smiles Amanda. College coaches are regular visitors. They come to Dallas because Amanda’s crews are ready for the rigors of NCAA rowing. With Amanda’s help twenty-four girls have been recruited to Division I teams in just four years. For more information about rowing and Dallas United Crew visit DallasUnitedCrew.org