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On the Ala Wai with a women’s crew team training for the Head of the Charles

crew racing.jpg
Catherine Cruz
/
HPR

This is the last weekend of training for a women’s crew team that Hawaiʻi is sending to the East Coast to compete against rowers from across the country. It has been 50 years since Hawaiʻi sent a team from the islands to the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.

The Conversation's Catherine Cruz set out for an early morning session on the water along the Ala Wai Canal to see two-man and four-man boats. Students from both private and public charter schools are taking part.

The glassy waters of the canal are really the only protected spot to train. The hypnotic sounds of the air on the gunnel help to focus the team to get into the rhythm. Coach Riley Hager was there to give the rowers a critique. It was 6:12 a.m. and the team had been out there since around 5 a.m.

For the last 10 years, Ikaika Hawaii has sent more than 40 student-athletes to college on rowing and kayaking scholarships. We spoke to Shelley Oates-Wilding, a two-time Olympian and the force behind the group. She also happens to head the USA Sprint Kayak team for the American Canoe Association.

Shelley Oates-Wilding.jpg
Catherine Cruz
/
HPR
Coach and two-time Olympian Shelley Oates-Wilding

This interview aired on The Conversation on Oct. 7, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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