Amazing Women Masters Rower:
Jill De Lucia

What rowing moment you are most proud of?
I think my proudest moment was as a rowing coach. I was in my second season of coaching, and had started earlier with exactly four experienced rowers. We had some folks returning from abroad, and a very talented group of novices moving into their first varsity season. We entered the Club 8 at the Head of the Charles, and won! I was proud of myself for having coached these women, and I was extremely proud of them for believing they could do that.

How has rowing shaped you?
I think it has made me honest with myself. At the end of a race, it is not some tactic or strategy that wins. You put your absolutely best effort out there, and the results speak for themselves. There are no style points or participation medals. Thus, setting standards for myself, in nearly all things, has clarity.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to row your best?
I have had some injuries, and had breast cancer twice. These things made me doubt that I could keep training and competing. But I have surrounded myself with people who encouraged me, and led me forward. So the challenge, in the end, was really not the injuries but the self-doubt. 

What are the biggest life lessons you’ve learned from rowing?
I have always paraphrased Vince Lombardi on this one. There is no “I” in Crew. I love being part of a group that pulls together. The goal is clear. And the trust and love you must have for each other to throw yourself into it without fear is what makes rowing a special sport, and a great metaphor for life.

What inspires you to keep rowing?
I just love the challenge to make a boat go fast. The other stuff ….staying fit, having a social group. Just noise. I want to go fast. And I don’t care if I am 90, I hope to God I still want to go fast. 

What club or team are you currently rowing with?
I organized and regularly row with South Bend Community Rowing. I am also part of an alumnae group of Notre Dame rowers who meet, train, and compete a few times per year.

What do you like most about rowing a single or with others?
I prefer to row with others. I really enjoy the camaraderie. 

What are you currently working towards as a rower? as a competitor?
I am preparing for some upcoming sprint races, and will soon transition into endurance work for head races in the fall. I am specifically trying to attain my pre-injury erg scores. My hope is that the work will result in some medals in the Fall.

What advice do you have for other women rowers?
Accept coaching. 

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.