Niagara Gazette — A funny thing happens when you ask Heavyn Dreher when her last day off was. The 16-year-old doesn’t have an answer.
That’s because the Grand Island native has been training year round since she was in eight grade, rowing for up to three hours and 12,000 meters a day in an effort to overcome what life’s thrown her way and push herself into the national and Division I rowing scenes.
The hard work seems to be paying off. Dreher has raced in some of the top rowing events in the world in the past year, including the largest two-day regatta in the world (Boston’s Head of the Charles) and the largest regatta in North America (the Royal Canadian Henley). She helped power her boat to first place in the women’s junior 4-plus club division in the New York Scholastic Championships and will attempt to make the U.S. junior national team in March.
“They have identification camps all over the country,” Dreher explained. “It’s not just here, it’s not just the East Coast. They have one in Seattle, Oklahoma, Florida, Southern California. ... I’ve never gone out for an identification camp before, but now after the experiences that I’ve had in rowing with different clubs and going to rowing clubs and examining my technique, I’ve built up my competition experience enough to try out for this.”
Dreher’s success isn’t limited to team events, either. She’s left her mark in the world of ergometer competition, or individual rowing machines. As a sophomore, she finished third in the under-17 women’s open weight division at the Canadian Indoor National Championships. This year, she placed 40th of 300 competitors in the same division at the World Indoor Championships.
“It’s thrilling, exhilarating, horrifying and extreme pain all at the same time,” Dreher said of the ergs. “It simulates a race well. Even though you’re not on the water, you see the number and see how fast you’re going. It shows you how far in front of you first place is. You can see that and make your decision when to make your move on them.