Grace McGinley races into the World Record books


Talia Hendel, Web Managing Editor

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, it became official that Grace McGinley ‘17 broke the 18 and under open weight girls 5K ergometer world record. Previously, the record was 18 minutes and 28 seconds. McGinley not only beat that record – she beat it by seven seconds with a time of 18 minutes and 21 seconds. “I’ve been working for the goal instinctively almost my entire rowing career, but I really started pushing for it last winter, when I came close. Once I realized my numbers were close, I had to beat it,” McGinley said.

        McGinley has done more than the average teenage rower could possibly dream of – her team won the Head of the Charles, Nationals, and many other top-tier regattas. She also participated in a summer program in which she prepared for the World’s Rowing Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Now, she has achieved something she has worked for her whole career: a world record.

        McGinley has been rowing since sixth grade and began the competitive program full-time as a freshman. Her most recent push to break the record started in the beginning of September.  “I was determined to beat it as soon as possible,” McGinley said.

        Team co-Captain Georgia Fox ’16 added that her achievement is a testament to her hard work and dedication. “For her, it’s been a long time coming – it’s definitely been a goal of hers for a while and no one deserves it more than she does. Having seen her work so hard at achieving it definitely brings the rest of the team a lot of pride knowing that we have someone like Grace constantly reminding us what it takes to be faster,” Fox said. She attributes McGinley’s success to her hard wor., “On a personal level, it definitely comes down to her work ethic. She’s a constant source of motivation to the team and reminds us every day what it takes to reach that next level,” Fox said.

        Co-captain Lelia Boley ’16 agreed with Fox and added what this record means for the team. “Honestly, the biggest thing this means for the program is that we are training well. Grace and the team have been really pushing their boundaries and it’s great to see that pay off,” Boley said.

        One member of the team that has been by McGinley’s side throughout her whole journey is her sister Kelsey McGinley ’18. “She has been close to the record for a long period of time and she was finally able to give the extra ounce of energy and break the record,” Kelsey said. She was right alongside her sister when the record-breaking moment occurred. “I was doing the piece on the erg right next to her and the atmosphere at the end was incredible. She was giving it everything, and our head coach [Gordon Getsinger] was right behind her every step of the way. I’m so glad she finally has the record as a result of all of her hard work,” Kelsey said.

        As her teammates mentioned, achieving this record as well as achieving success with the sport in general requires an incredible amount of work which is extremely time and energy consuming. McGinley says what makes it all worth it is being happy with the end result. “I really like the sense of victory you get when you win a race, or the way you feel once you finish a piece on the machine and you know it was the best you could do and it was really amazing, so I’m willing to deal with all the hard practices in order to get that.” Next, McGinley hopes to win the major regattas again, as well as take on the open weight girls 2K ergometer world record.