On Oct. 18, Pacific University athletics named Karolyn Milton the new head rowing coach. Milton began her career on the east coast where she attended the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virg., a small division III university.
After her four years there, she then coached a club team on the east coast for three years. Although her career started on the east coast, the west coast was a familiar place for Milton.
“I was actually born in Washington,” Milton said. “I then moved out to Virginia Beach with my parents for high school and college. I always wanted to move back to the Pacific Northwest. I’m one of the weirdos who likes rain.”
Milton has spent the previous four years as an assistant coach at Lewis and Clark College. While at Lewis and Clark, Milton also coached the Pioneers novice team, where they helped prepare rowers to contribute to the varsity team.
“When I came back to division III after the three years being out, everything had gotten faster,” Milton said. “What I had perceived as really fast times before, weren’t quite fast enough.”
Milton said that her head coach at Lewis and Clark, Sam Taylor, helped her with adapting to these changes, as well as learning how to build a program.
“I learned a lot from him,” Milton said. “We had tons of discussions, watched tons of videos and we would go back and forth about what worked really well and what didn’t. Also he helped me figure out how to build a culture on a team at smaller schools.”
Even though the main event for rowing is the eight, an eight person boat, Milton wants to focus on the smaller boat races while she develops the program.
“Our first goal is to just build numbers,” Milton said. “Once we get the size up, we can pull from this big pool of people that will make our fastest lineup. For this next season, we don’t have the numbers to have a really competitive eight right now.”
Milton hopes within the next year or two the team will be able to field a more competitive eight as numbers increase in the program.