Bahamian collegiate rowing student-athlete Sophie Paine is about to graduate, thus bringing an end to an illustrious collegiate career. Though she is undecided on what is next for her in rowing, the soon-to-be Cambridge University graduate is hoping to see the sport of rowing grow more in The Bahamas, so that Bahamians can compete more on the international stage.
Paine, who hails from Grand Bahama, is an eight-rower at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She said it will be nice to see the sport grow in the Family Islands and have more persons rowing at international events.
“It would be amazing if The Bahamas can start sending athletes to international competitions. I know there has been Emily Morley who represented The Bahamas in the singles at the last Olympics in 2016, but it would be incredible if we can start sending athletes not only to the Olympics but to other international rowing events like in the summer where there are a lot of events. They can help to put The Bahamas on the international map in terms of rowing. That would be the next goal,” Paine said.
As mentioned, Paine rows in the eights. At the moment, The Bahamas does not have an eight-member rowing team. As for the singles event, Paine said she has only done it about four times in her rowing career.
“I won’t mind singles but I do have way more experience rowing in teams. In the singles, you have two oars and in the boats I row in, I only have one oar. It is like a different sport altogether. I have to see if I am any good in the singles because I do not have much experience with it, but I will be willing to give it a try,” Paine said. “I have not decided whether or not to continue rowing after this year but I think that it is pretty tough because one of the things that I enjoy most about rowing is the big team environment. Unfortunately, The Bahamas does not have a large rowing team. It would potentially mean training alone and rowing in the singles. I can row for either The Bahamas or Great Britain…. we will see. I do not rule out rowing for The Bahamas in international events.”
Paine said she fell in love with the sport on her first day at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in the United States of
America (USA), back in 2016. She had a good four years there before studying abroad in the United Kingdom. At Cambridge, she served as the president of the team, which is similar to the captain of the rowing team. She guided them to victory this past April, competing in the prestigious 75th Boat Race against the University of Oxford at the River Great Ouse in London, England.
The 24-year-old said she enjoys the eights and loves to see teamwork come to fruition.
“For me, the thing that I like the most about rowing eights is the fact that when you get in a boat, all eight of you are working toward the same goal and you are willing to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation for the girls around you. When you are rowing, to get across the finish line, you are not just doing it for yourself, you are doing it for everyone around you and I like that. When it gets too hard, you stop doing it for yourself and start doing it for the women in the boat with you and I found that to be very unique,” Paine said.
“I like the team environment and we spend a lot of time on the rowing machines and we spend time on the water as well. The rowing machines are the reasons why it is very painful because you are putting in work and it is special to be doing that with other girls who are pushing just as hard and you can feed off their energy. It is a unique environment to have us all working toward a single goal. It requires all of the persons to buy into it and work hard to accomplish that goal.”
Paine is hopeful that more Bahamians can get into the sport of rowing and The Bahamas can produce more rowers in addition to Morley at the Olympics and at other international competitions.
Paine was able to complete a double major in political science and education in her undergraduate studies. At Cambridge, she completed her Master’s degree in Management at the business school and just completed a second Master’s degree in Sociology.