Amazing Women Masters Rower:
Karin Tetlow

What rowing moment you are most proud of?
Winning a medal at the Head of the Charles this year. I was invited to “make age” in a veterans 4+ with experienced rowers. The three miles zipped by without counting the bridges ahead or worrying Can I do this?…and we won. The medal is a beautiful heavy bas-relief sculpture that is now hanging in my kitchen with the other bling acquired over 20 years (I have to say that many were won on handicapped “adjusted” times, something that still doesn’t feel quite right.) Another moment was when Clete Graham awarded two of us plaques for “Most Miles Rowed” in a regatta…3 head races plus a turn the stake race…something that would not happen now!

How has rowing shaped you?
On many levels. From the psychological (learning that unvoiced criticisms of other rowers in the boat would be better applied to me) to the physical. This morning my dexa scan result showed that the bone density of my spine has increased by 3.2% in two years, while my hip stayed the same.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to row your best?
In Belgium for Worlds I was stroke in a beautiful wooden double with a woman from Poland. At the start my hands got caught up in my loose shirt……they tell you about this, but I never really believed it. After recovering, it happened again. But angst turned into power and we tore down the course. My one regret was that I was so discombobulated that I lost track of where the other boats were so did not realize we had won. 

What are the biggest life lessons you’ve learned from rowing?
That it’s never over till it’s over. Even at 83 you can discover new ways of being and doing. 

What inspires you to keep rowing?
What better way to connect with water, people, life and building bone density… 

What club or team are you currently rowing with?
Bachelors Barge Club 

What do you like most about rowing a single or with others?
Rowing a single it’s just you. Every stroke is a new opportunity you can choose or not.. Rowing with others requires extra awareness. 

What are you currently working towards as a rower? as a competitor?
Next season I want to do more sculling and maybe go back to racing a single. Wouldn’t it be great to master fear of the wind?

What advice do you have for other women rowers?
Just do it. Results don’t really matter except to you. If dawdling along looking at the turtles is what you feel like, so be it. 

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.