by KATIE HENEGHAN & C. GARRETT KEIDEL Staff Writer & Asst. Sports Editor
Shannon Forty is a junior Biology major on the Manhattan College Rowing team, from Westford, Massachusetts. At the end of the spring semester, Forty was named to the All-MAAC Second Team, becoming the first from the Division I rowing program’s three-year history to receive any All-MAAC honors.
The Quadrangle: How did you get into sports? How did you get into rowing in particular?
Shannon Forty: I started rowing my freshman year of high school. I was one of the few people who was recruited for Manhattan.
TQ: Is it a big sport where you’re from?
SF: I’m from the Boston area so it’s definitely bigger up there then it is here, but it’s still not very well known.
TQ: What has your experience been like as a college athlete?
SF: It’s been awesome. Manhattan College has been great. Also, I feel like rowing is unique especially in this environment right now because the team is growing and getting so much better over the past two years that I’ve been here. We’ve gone from basically being club to being a pretty competitive team.
TQ: What was it about Manhattan College that made you want to come here?
SF: Everything. It was really a combination of the location and the academics, the Catholic association and the athletics. I really liked the coach at the time. It was also somewhere I could go because I was 5’4” and I wouldn’t have been that competitive on a big team; it would’ve been hard for me to row D1 anywhere else. I was really accepted here despite that.
TQ: What was your reaction when you found out you were named an All-MAAC athlete?
SF: Well that was great! I was actually shocked because it was such a whirlwind of emotions last year at the MAAC Championship. We definitely went out and put everything we had out there, and we raced some solid races, and obviously we didn’t get the results we were hoping for. I was just shocked. I was not expecting it in that moment.
TQ: What have all the summer offseason workouts been like so far?
SF: Everyone did different things because of where they were and what they had access to. [For] people who have access to rowing on the water over the summer, it’s a solid training period. You can get into sculling boats and stuff like that. So I trained with the UMass Lowell team because that’s where I’m from. I went to the gym and I worked a bunch, and Coach [Alex Canale] sent us workouts over the summer. We’re definitely getting faster and I PR’d over the summer in the 2K which is a sign of improvement.
TQ: Do you have any favorite memories in rowing?
SF: It’s all pretty good! The Head of the Charles is always an awesome race to do. I got first in a pair at Spring METS last year and that was super fun. Everytime you hit a PR that’s just the greatest.
TQ: Do you have a nickname on the team?
SF: Well, I’m Shannon Forty and there’s three Shannons so Shannon Forty, then Shannon Colford is Shannon Fifty and then we have a Shannon Sixty. So it’s like my original name but they have nicknames because of me.
TQ: Do you have any goal academically or even in rowing?
SF: We all have goals. We have a lot of goals on rowing this season. We’re going to get way faster and obviously the end goal is the MAAC Championship for the fall and definitely qualifying for top half. Top half is qualifying for next year in the Head of the Charles. It’s a sport that’s all about the numbers so just setting numbers that you want to hit for your 5K and 2K times and just getting faster from there.
TQ: Are there any major lessons that you have learned?
SF: I think the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from the past two years at Manhattan is that you can do whatever. When I came into college I was 5’4” and I had been rowing for four years in high school already and I’m pretty small and not the usual body type of a rower so people basically said you’re not going to get much faster. Since coming here, every year I’ve gotten faster and I improved.
TQ: What’s your favorite part about playing a D1 sport?
SF: The community is so awesome and just having that family of girls on the team and having them there for you. We’ve gotten so much bigger every year. We started off fairly small with a majority of freshman, and starting this year, after having our first practice, there were just so many of us and we all know each other so well by now. It’s amazing.