Even though they have both been rowing for a relatively short amount of time, making it to the U.S. Rowing National Championships has been a long time coming for University Park residents and Episcopal School of Dallas sisters Cat and CeCe Turner.
The duo, along with a handful of other local crews, will compete for Founders Rowing Club in the women’s youth double division at nationals this weekend in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Cat, who recently graduated and plans to attend SMU, started rowing her freshman year of high school, while CeCe, a rising senior, followed suit the next year, which led to them teaming up in the same boat.
“This sport favors taller, bigger people,” CeCe said. “She was already in the varsity boat as a freshman. In the spring, I was in the varsity boat with her. That was the first time we got to row together. We had always kind of dreamed we could be a double. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Both sisters were into other sports before they decided to give crew a shot. Cat was running cross country, while CeCe was playing soccer and volleyball.
“I decided it looked like fun and tried it out,” Cat said. “It’s always been something I wanted to try. It’s always been appealing to me. It’s different and fun. It’s been year-round for me since I started. After my freshman year, I went to a U.S. National Team Development Camp. Of course, then the season was on. It’s always good to get out on the water. I kind of coaxed her [CeCe] into it, but it worked out really well.”
The last two summers, the siblings have gone out of state as part of their off-season training regimen that also includes swimming, running, lifting weights, and even a little Zumba on Xbox 360 Kinect. They went to Connecticut two summers ago and Colorado last year.
“We did altitude training,” CeCe said. “It was a lot of fun and great experience. There were some past Olympic rowers up there who came and watched us.”
However, Cat suffered a ripped abdominal oblique muscle that kept her out of competition last spring.
“It’s kind of like bittersweet,” Cat said. “I’ve still been having to deal with the injury, but I’ve finally made it to the national championships.”
The sisters are undefeated in competition this spring.
And, of course, they have the advantage of knowing each other better than most of the rowing duos they will be facing.
“That’s something we have going for us,” CeCe said. “If you’re just with somebody you don’t really know all that much who is a friend, you’re not really going to want to yell at them and get them going when you work through problems. Cat and I can’t get away from each other; we’re always going to be sisters. We’re very close. We fight in a good way.”
Cat, who said she might row for SMU, would love nothing more than to put the finishing touches on her high school career with a championship she can share with her sister.
“Winning a national title would be one of the best things that can happen,” Cat said. “We’ve put a lot of hard work into it. I feel like I haven’t really had time to take it in. We train so hard; it’s really just more falling back on the training. It still hasn’t hit me yet.”