Athlete of the Issue: Aine Ley


A paddle strikes the water, a wave emerging from under the dark red shell reading “Groton”. A chain of ripples crashes onto the nearby dock as the voices of coxswains loom over the placid river. It is race day for Aine Ley ’22, who serves as an integral member of the Groton crew team, both as a leader and one of the most talented rowers. Aine Ley reflects on her Groton rowing journey and gives her thoughts on her final high school season. 

When did you start rowing?

I started rowing when I came to Groton in second form.

What part of crew or rowing do you enjoy the most? 

The best part of rowing is when everything finally clicks for the boat and you can feel the shift in momentum and speed through the water. When everyone is synced together and has found the right rhythm, you can hear the sound of every oar turning and entering the water together followed by bubbles as the water rushes under the boat. It’s really rewarding after all the work you’ve done and to feel everything come together and translate into speed. 

What is your most memorable Groton rowing moment?

My first ever varsity practice really stands out in my mind. I was called up from JV towards the end of my first season to fill a seat in 4th boat, and I was absolutely terrified. I remember quickly realizing, though, how supportive the team was, and I instantly began to look up to the older girls. I was so impressed by their strength and competitiveness, and I now hope to be that person for everyone who’s new to the team.

What do you look forward to this upcoming season?

I’m looking forward to having our first NEIRA championships since my third form year! It’s our biggest race of the season and is super competitive, so it’s always intense racing and we get to see if our work throughout the spring has paid off. And hopefully, I’ll walk away from my last Groton race with a medal!

What has rowing taught you? 

Rowing has definitely taught me a lot about what it means to push yourself and how hard you must work to get what you want. I’ve been lucky enough to have coaches I’ve respected and looked up to show me the importance of confidence and believing you’re capable of more than you think. It’s easy to let thoughts of quitting or giving up overwhelm you. Learning how to overcome those moments has made me more resilient in all aspects of my life. I really owe a lot to those coaches who made me realize my potential and where rowing can take me, whether it was being told for the first time that I could row in college or hearing someone that I respected say that they wanted to see me succeed.