Kate and Liv Bolitho have quite a heritage on the water as rowers for the San Diego Rowing Club (SDRC). They not only enjoy their mother Colette’s sticky toffee pudding, a traditional South African dessert, but also also receive the drafting their father Glynn’s career as a rower in college in their ancestral land provides. Granddad was in a boat, too. Plus, of course, mom and grandma were swimmers.
“The bond you have in the boat is ultimately the thing that is going to make the boat go faster,” says Kate, headed to University of California, Berkeley this fall to pull an oar for the Golden Bears, during a discussion of intangibles and what provides an advantage of mere milliseconds. She knows the racer’s edge, having crewed for the SDRC juniors to a silver medal in the monster Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston — second in a field of 84 boats.
Kate, a 2019 graduate of Bishop’s, her sister, Liv, a junior Knight, and their friend and teammate, Chantal Lanatta, who graduated from La Jolla High in June, emphasize the extreme conditioning that rowing demands, as well as the need for cohesion among teammates in the boat. They row in four- and eight-person boats, the former with the coxswain calling the rhythm in the back of the boat, the latter in the bow.
“You see people try to juggle rowing and other sports,” says Lanatta, who will row at Newcastle University in the U.K. this fall, “and they don’t keep up. It’s physically exhausting.” She played soccer and volleyball until rowing captured her with its magic and singular focus. Liv played field hockey for Coastal Clash and Bishop’s as a freshman.
Though thankful for a variety of coaches in their years competing for SDRC, the trio really appreciate the step up in conditioning that Patrick Kington has brought. “We think it’s a good change,” says Lanatta, headed into an international business management major speaking the Spanish of her parents, Gus from Buenos Aires and Tande from Mexico City, as well as French from attending the San Diego French American School K-8. “(Kington) upped our strength conditioning.” The rowers explain that they use the ergonomic (ERG) machine for land training to complement their time on the water.
Says Liv, “It’s important that your teammates respect you. You go through grueling tests, including time trials. It’s very competitive. The thing I like is at the end of the day, you’re still teammates.”
Her older sister, enjoying the waning days of summer before heading to the Bay Area, asserts, “I like the aspect where the work you put in is what you get out of it.” She explains that, in addition to training, come diet and rest. Lanatta quickly adds, “You also have to manage your time so that after school you can handle workouts and do homework so that you can get to bed at a reasonable hour.”
At no point would these three, or their families, want the recognition of being featured in an article to take away from the focus on “team” and the camaraderie they share in the boat with the other student athletes. They make that very clear.