Hampton woman starts rowing to join husband, daughter, discovers love for sport

Updated 2 hours ago

Beth Bowman of Hampton is shining as a novice rower.

Bowman, a member of the Pittsburgh Rowing Club in Robinson and the third member of her family to row, earned a bronze medal in the Lightweight Veteran Masters Women “A” 50-59 age group at the Pittsburgh Indoor Rowing Championship regatta Jan. 26 at the Kingsley Association in East Liberty.

Bowman finished 2,000 meters in 8:35.6 seconds, beating her goal split of 2:10 per 500 meters. It was her first race on an egometer.

Bowman began rowing last year after injuries forced her to quit tennis and platform tennis. She did spinning and lifted weights to avoid getting hurt in rowing.

“When done correctly, even though the rowing is physically harder, you don’t get injured (with things) like tennis elbow,” she said. “I thought I would just do indoor rowing, but was talked into trying outdoor rowing.”

“The sculling definitely has a steep learning curve, but because I have gotten to row with really talented, experienced rowers, I have gotten to fall in love with the sport.”

In her only outdoor race, Bowman placed third with three other rowers in Women’s Master 4x in the 50+ age group at the Head of the Occoquan regatta in November in Northern Virginia (23:19.02).

Bowman said she is having a blast.

“The easiest part is how much fun I’m having with the other rowers, both on my team, and seeing other people (who) I met through our kids rowing,” she said. “Not much beats rowing on a summer evening with people who know what they are doing and share pointers and their love of rowing.”

Bowman said a highlight is going out for pizza on Wednesdays and breakfast on Saturdays with her teammates.

Bowman said she checked something off her bucket list after practicing in a double last summer with her daughter, Salli, a Cornell University senior rower.

“I’d love someday to be in a race with her,” Bowman said.

She said the best part is getting to enjoy the sport with her husband, Mike, a Masters rower and former Pittsburgh Indoor Rowing Championship gold medalist.

She hopes to do a few races a year.

“I just want to enjoy being with a really fun group of people and learn from them and my coach and get to enjoy this all with Mike and hopefully Salli when she has has a chance to row more,” Bowman said.

Mike Bowman, a Cranberry orthopedist, said his wife is tough.

Pittsburgh Rowing Club coach Florin Curuea said it is not uncommon for parents to follow their children into rowing.

(They) get the bug,” he said.

Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributor.