In the New Boat: Senior Carlie Stipe on Rowing and Berkeley


Photo credit Emily Farren.

Senior Carlie Stipe has achieved some of her wildest dreams. “All the hard work that I’ve done this last year has paid off. I’m in the top ranks of rowing now; I stroke the top boats, which is one of the hardest positions in rowing. I got into my dream school.”

Stipe was accepted into UC Berkeley early. Originally, her first choice of college was Princeton, but she came to prefer Berkeley as an option after visiting the campus. “Being an athlete, I got to experience the recruiting process …  I got to visit all those schools, and I just ended up liking Berkeley the best,” Stipe said.

Stipe is in the stern of the boat during a race at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts in Oct. 2017. The team placed second overall. Submitted photo by Carlie Stipe.

Stipe’s success in athletics played a role in her acceptance to Berkeley. She had been a competitive swimmer since the age of four but changed her mind her freshman year. “I had an epiphany my freshmen year that that wasn’t something I wanted to do in college, but I knew I wanted to be a college athlete,” Stipe said.

After deciding swim wasn’t what she wanted to do, Stipe chose to take up rowing in her junior year, a common change of sports for athletes due to the similar cardiovascular and mental requirements. She was drawn to the sport because of the beauty she saw in it.

“If you watch it, it’s actually a really pretty sport, and you have to put in so much hard work to make it look that pretty, too. Everyone [is] working together for one common goal,” Stipe said.

For Stipe, rowing has left its greatest impact on her life by instilling a hard work ethic in her and allowing her to forge friendships with others involved in the sport. However, she has learned many things from the sport that have helped her in her academic career as well. “It’s a lot of hard work, so I think it’s made me better at managing time and taught me a lot of communication skills with my teammates and my coaches, which translated over into school. It obviously opened up a lot of opportunities, college-wise.”

“I actually just started emailing colleges in my junior year because in rowing they do test sets and then that’s what you send to colleges — how well you do in the tests. I was performing really well, and my coaches told me to start emailing colleges that I was interested in,” Stipe said. Eventually, the colleges that became interested in her began to communicate with Stipe, opening up different opportunities.

Stipe is at the front of the boat in front of the coxswain. After a race at the Fault-Line Face-Off in Oakland in Feb where her team placed third overall. Submitted photo by Carlie Stipe.

Stipe is looking forward to the academic side of Berkeley and the atmosphere there. “It’s a really fun environment, but you still have to work hard,” Stipe said. She also is looking forward to the opportunities in rowing in college and beyond. “I would like to be on the [National Collegiate Athletic Association] team by my sophomore year, and I would hopefully like to try out for the national team when I’m 19 [or] 20. I would like to continue rowing after college,” Stipe said.

Stipe advises students to “just be persistent. If you have a dream school, don’t be afraid to email them … just be persistent with what you do in school, and it’ll carry you.”