Amazing Women Masters Rower:
Shotsi Lajoie

What rowing moment you are most proud of?
Winning the Midwest Sprints in 1974. We knew we made history at the University of Notre Dame – we were the first women to win at a major competition. Actually, we were the only women athletes competing at ND at the time. It’s a moment you can’t reproduce.

How has rowing shaped you?
Rowing has a way of giving one discipline, focus, and determination. I noticed immediately that it renewed my sense of well-being to tackle the day. I can go and conquer the world after a good workout and, to this day, I row more often when I am stressed. It keeps me happy that I have so many things to look forward to in my life. It offers a supportive community and deep, meaningful friendships.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to row your best?
To plan my schedule to include both early morning rowing and strength training. That was a big commitment in college and now, as a masters rower, I cherish it. Rowing has taught me to stay in good shape. I go to bed earlier now, so I can row with the morning’s sun. 

What are the biggest life lessons you’ve learned from rowing?
It has taught me to believe in myself. 

What inspires you to keep rowing?
Many things inspire me to row. One is Nature, that is shared in the boat – sunrises, wildlife and the inherent beauty of being on the water. Spiritual renewal is a by-product of having “swing”. Laughing with boat mates is something money cannot buy. . .  I seek it out. And it creates good muscle tone. 

What club or team are you currently rowing with?
QI row with 2 teams, Vero Beach Rowing and the NDames.

What do you like most about rowing a single or with others?
When I row in a single, it’s the closest I’ve come to being with God in my life. Also, rowing a single allows you to work on your technical issues because you can isolate them. When I row with others, I feel supported and connected and we go faster. It is also nice to row with beginners and help them with their learning process and encourage them to stick with it!!! 

What are you currently working towards as a rower? as a competitor?
As a rower, I’d like to do more weight lifting and erging. We can row on water all year long and I act as if I am allergic to the erg. As a competitor, I would like to do more sculling races. Currently I race in an 8 with the NDames a few times a year and race in a 2x with my doubles partner. Quad racing with Vero Beach Rowing would be fun, too.

What advice do you have for other women rowers?
Never stop rowing! If you’ve never rowed before, try 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.