Drake University Rowing

DU Women’s Rowing

Drake University First-Year Julie Uram wakes up at five every morning for rowing practice and spends her weekends competing against other schools along with her teammates. So far, the team has had two races, in Illinois and Kansas, and will compete in their final race this weekend here on the Des Moines River.

“My favorite part about rowing is the bond between my boat mates and me, and that when I’m surrounded and supported by the team, I am able to rise to physical challenges stronger than I ever could on my own.”

According to Drake University women’s rowing coach, Charlie Disilvestro, Julie is a hard worker and brings a very positive attitude to the team.

“She always puts team first and works hard on and off the water. While she wants to improve on the water she puts even more effort into her class work and for that I’m very proud of Julie.”

This is Disilvestro’s 24th year of coaching rowing and his favorite part of his job is interacting with the athletes. He says he always tries to stay in touch with them after they graduate.

“I love seeing them succeed on and off the water.”

Uram’s teammate, sorority sister, and friend Elise Nikolic got involved with rowing by talking to the assistant coach over the summer who told her she should join the team. She hasn’t gone three days without rowing ever sense. Nikolic has been Uram’s seat partner for the past few races.

“She always has a positive attitude, which is hard when the workouts get tough and it’s easy to get frustrated. Julie doesn’t do that though.”

According to Nikolic, the two often enjoy the sunrises with the team after their rowing workouts.

“They come up just as we are finishing and after finishing a hard workout with my close friends, the sunrise makes it easier to wake up at five in the morning.”

This is not Uram’s first experience on a rowing team.  During high school in her home town of Rockford, Illinois, she rowed for her city’s YMCA rowing club for three years. She says she knew she wanted to continue the sport at a higher level.

Uram rows port, which is the left side of the boat. She has raced in both novice and varsity 8s, which is a boat with eight rowers, competitions this season. The team doesn’t keep a record of their fall races but have competed against different teams.

“Overall our competitions have been great. We race a number of novice and varsity boats, some place better than others, but I like to determine the success of our team by our ability to put practice into teamwork.”

According to Uram, this experience has taught her a lot about discipline and teamwork.  She says, with it being her first year in college, it has also been a great opportunity for her to make friends and get to know people.

“The demand of working together in rowing is truly unique from other sports.”

Uram says she plans on continuing her hard work on the team throughout her college career and as she prepares for their final race of the season. According to Uram, she looks forward to getting better and spending more time with her hardworking teammates.