Teal Cohen: 'None Of This Would Be Possible Without You’
Inspiration is everywhere in Conibear Shellhouse.
As Varsity 8 NCAA championship rower Teal Cohen wanders through the home of Washington Rowing, photos from generations past remind her of her place in a legacy of determined, competitive and gritty women.
"It's incredibly inspiring to come into a program that historically has been so successful and has such a prominent place in UW Athletics," the fifth-year senior says. "We are surrounded by the photos of women's crews from before and after Title IX and are very grateful to have the tremendous resources and opportunities that Title IX ensures."
Teal grew up with rowing. Her grandfather rowed for Yale and her mother rowed collegiately and went on to become a competitive masters rower. Teal recalls travelling to the Head of the Charles and other regattas to cheer on her mom before finally trying out the sport.
"People said, 'You're in middle school and you're 5'10", you should try rowing!' But my mom never pushed me," says Teal. "I tried nearly every sport and there was never a moment where I said, 'Wow, I'm really good at this.' Then I took up rowing."
A self-driven and disciplined teenager, she set "crazy goals" for herself and found it exciting to achieve them. On a visit to the UW before her senior year in high school, the Dallas native fell in love with the city, the school and — most of all — the people of Washington Rowing.
"People ask me how we do it, how we win. I tell them, it's the people," Teal explains. "My teammates are amazing and have pushed me beyond what I thought was possible. Yaz and all the coaches help me to become the best rower I can be. With so much support, I can show up every day and focus on getting better and faster."
An NCAA and Under-23 World Champion, Teal is also a double-major in political science and medical anthropology/global health. She credits Rowing donors for the opportunity to pursue her athletic and educational passions.
"None of this would be possible without you. We wouldn't be able to travel to races, train and compete with top of the line equipment, and race the way we race if it weren't for you. That's so rare and we're so lucky to have such strong and deep support."
This story originally appeared in UW Rowing's "SWEEP" magazine. Read the spring, 2022, edition via the link at the top-right of this page.