Rower Carries On her Grandfather’s Legacy
By Maeve Berry • September 29, 2018
SARASOTA, Fla. — College Club of Seattle’s Jennifer Huffman is forging her own path in masters rowing. At the 2018 World Rowing Masters Regatta, she raced in a total of nine events over the course of three days, winning five gold medals.
“It’s a sport that you can do for your entire life,” said Huffman. “I didn’t actually pick it up until I was 39; it was just a natural fit for me. If you have to do a sport, why not do something where you can watch the sunrise and the eagles fly. It’s just wonderful.”
Though she started her competitive years later than many, Huffman was no stranger to rowing. Her grandfather is the late Joe Rantz, a member of the 1936 Olympic men’s eight that took home gold. In 2013, the novel The Boys in the Boat was published, telling the story of her grandfather and the crew’s victory.
“Since The Boys in the Boat came out, I think that’s definitely been an instigator for rowing to become a more mainstream sport,” Huffman said. “It took (rowing) from just the coast and has spread it all over the United States. A lot of clubs have had an influx of learn-to-row (programs, including) the Pocock Foundation with it’s Erg Ed; it all ties together to get youth rowing.”
Looking ahead, Huffman has no plans on stopping her involvement in rowing anytime soon.
“I want to still be rowing when I’m in my 70s — being able to stay healthy that long and keep rowing with the people that I’m with who are absolutely wonderful,” she said. “I have fantastic teammates, and I’ve had such a great time rowing. I just want to keep rowing into the future and continue on doing what I’m doing.”
The 2018 World Rowing Masters Regatta continues on Sunday with racing scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. EDT.