Kroll has big rowing plans for the future


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Katy Kroll might be a little bit clumsy. Nicknamed "Grace" by her mother the Iowa sophomore rower has taken a few missteps since she was little, her mother said.


When she was in third grade, she asked her mother, Jeni Schneider, if she could walk home alone from school, which was only a of couple blocks away. Her mother said, "OK," and watched little Katy walk home from the front step. One spot in the sidewalk was raised, and Schneider said her daughter tripped on the spot at least three days a week.

Growing up, Schneider didn't take Kroll on escalators because she would either fall getting on or getting off.

Even now, Schneider said she'll be on the phone with Kroll as she is walking around the Iowa campus and notice that Katy is preoccupied. She has to ask her, "Did you just fall?" Kroll usually says, "Yes."

But clumsiness on the sidewalk isn't stopping her from success when she gets on the water.

Kroll doesn't plan to stop rowing anytime soon, even though she just started rowing four short years ago.

"It's literally an addicting sport," she said. "I would say I'm addicted to rowing."

Her rowing adventure began at a birthday party during her junior year of high school. She was one of the only people there who was not a rower, but she hopped on the erg machine and tried it out anyway.

"She didn't worry about making a fool of herself and pretty much blew everyone away," Schneider said.

It was love at first row. Schneider said that within six months, Kroll tried out for the junior championship team.

"There was no way I was going to stop rowing once I got onto the water," Kroll said.

The friend who hosted the birthday party urged Kroll to join the local club rowing team because she saw that Kroll had the body of a rower: A strong build, strength, and power.

Her overpowering strength is one of the characteristics that makes her such a good rower; she just needs the technical work to make it to the next level after college.

Even when she played other sports growing up — such as softball — she tended to overthrow the ball during warm-ups or overthrow the ball to second base. Rowing was the perfect sport to apply her strength.

Assistant coach Carrie Callen was the primary coach who recruited Kroll to come to Iowa. She said the Hawkeyes were interested in Kroll because of her "strength, Midwest work ethic, and values," and because Kroll was excited about attending a Big Ten university.

Callen said Kroll has the "rowing engine," and as coaches, they are working on refining her technique to perfect her power application so she can make the smoothest and longest stroke possible in the water.

Her college rowing work is leading up to her ultimate goal: making it to the Olympics. She can get there if she has the ambition, Callen said, a trait she believes Kroll has plenty of.

Schneider said she will be on her way if she maintains her competitive drive.

"Every goal she has set for herself in the sport she has achieved," Schneider said.

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