DURHAM, N.C. – With the spring season about to start in earnest, the Duke rowing team looks to come together and forge a bond that will carry it through the campaign. The Blue Devils, who last Saturday captured their third consecutive Carolina Cup and are currently ranked No. 18 in the country, pull from across the globe to create a united team.
Of the 49 rowers on the team, 10 are originally from outside the United States. From New Zealand and Australia to Canada, England and the Netherlands, the international group has formed a unique bond to call Durham a second home and treat each other like family.
Rowers by Country:
New Zealand – 3
United Kingdom/England – 3
British Columbia/Ontario (Canada) – 2
Australia – 1
Netherlands – 1
“This team has been all of my best friends throughout my time at Duke,” said graduate student Tara Christensen, a native of Nanaimo, British Columbia. “It is a unique opportunity to be part of a really empowered and strong group of women, who are all striving together towards one goal.”
For sophomore Anne Klok, a native of Amsterdam, Netherlands, choosing Duke was an easy decision.
“I’ve always wanted to explore the world and study abroad. When the opportunity to go to Duke came along it was a no-brainer for me,” said Klok. “The chance to attend an amazing school like Duke while being able to perform the sport I love at such a high level in a country that was new to me seemed like a perfect fit. So far, it has worked out.”
The competitiveness of both the ACC and Duke is something that brought senior captain Isabel Ruby-Hill to the Bull City. “I was looking for a school where I could row more competitively than I could row at universities back in Canada,” she said.
While North Carolina is a new home for these Blue Devils, their roots from back home stay with them.
“Prawn cocktail crisps,” said freshman Olivia Von Stauffenberg, who is from London, England, when asked about the first food she will eat when she gets back home.
When asked if there was one food she could not bring herself to eat, freshman Amelia Johnson was keen about one thing. “Things related to pumpkin,” the native of Sydney, Australia, said. “I don’t understand pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, there is so much hype and I don’t really get it.”
It’s never easy to travel thousands of miles from home to go to college, but the international teammates make it easier to manage the absence and provide comfort.
Duke next competes Sunday, March 24 at Camden, N.J., in the Cooper Sprints.