Amazing Women Masters Rower:
Ann Panagulias

What rowing moment you are most proud of?
Coxing the Hudson River Rowing Association’s Men’s 8+ safely to the end of the Hudson River Challenge 25K course, basically between the old Tappan Zee Bridge to the George Washington Bridge. We used a special cable to connect my iPod to the coxbox, playing inspirational music of each rowers’ choice to keep us focused and high-spirited. We were the only 8 to finish and the following year we became a mixed boat because it was so much “fun.”

How has rowing shaped you?
“Shape” shape? I am always at my physical peak in the heart of the summer season. Spiritually, it has introduced me to like-minded individuals who have become mentors and friends, both on and off the water

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to row your best?
Accepting each rower as an individual and learning to adapt to the particular personality of each crew, each season. 

What are the biggest life lessons you’ve learned from rowing?
As they sing in “Hamilton,” ‘Talk less, smile more,’ unless, of course, you’re the coxswain. 

What inspires you to keep rowing?
The impossible ideal of perfection. This wonderful sense of sync’ing up with other individuals to make a boat run. I LOVE the repetition, not unlike the unrelenting practice of a musician. 

What club or team are you currently rowing with?
New Haven Rowing Club. 

What do you like most about rowing a single or with others?
When I rowed on the Hudson, I loved rowing my single to be one with nature, for the extraordinary glimpse of a bald eagle, the challenge of taming the Mighty Hudson. Also, as coach Bill Davies would say, to achieve “quiet rowing,” with the blades dropping in and driving through the water without a sound. When rowing with others, again, that idea of synchronicity, matching up with the rowers in front of you, which, in my case, is usually everyone as I’m usually in bow. I proudly accept the Hudson River Rowing Association label of “Bow Princess,” coined especially for Christine Mulvey. 

What are you currently working towards as a rower? as a competitor?
I have found the “perfect” doubles partner in Laura Nowacki. I have the utmost respect for her, again, on and off the water. In some ways we are total yin-yang, but in others we are exactly alike. Above all, we are the little engines that CAN. We earned the right to take out our club “restricted” lightweight shell, The Hummingbird, and we just adore rowing her. We are fortunate to have a terrific coach in Dave Vogel who challenges and inspires us at every practice. We are looking forward to head race season as we are both more long-distance competitors than sprinters. I am also learning to “toe” a quad, i.e., steer with the use of toe rudder. We are matching up with another doubles team at our club to make a lovely “mature women’s” quad.

What advice do you have for other women rowers?
Be kind. 

If you’d like to share your story in our “Amazing Women Masters Rowers” series, please email

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Author: Vreni Hommes

Why We Row celebrates the unique lives and incredible stories of Women Masters Rowers.