Athlete of the Issue: Anna Johnson ‘23

Johnson’s navigation through the waves of hard work and dedication throughout her crew career.

Nature, especially water, is unpredictable: the weather and currents along the Schuylkill River demonstrate just that. Nevertheless, there’s always a group of people both motivated and willing to conquer such unpredictability. Anna Johnson ‘23 is one of the most notable athletes who can lay claim as a prime example of this group of troopers. 

At age 14, Johnson began her crew career at the Conshohocken Rowing Center. Initially introduced to the sport through their competitive training program, she quickly gained the experience to be an eligible candidate for their camp. Fast forward four years, and she can still be found rowing with the center during the fall and summer seasons. 

Practically always “in-season,” Johnson spends twelve to fifteen hours a week erging and lifting weights. This rigorous training schedule reflects her mentality of always devoting 100 percent effort to what she does, a point emphasized multiple times throughout her interview. 

Johnson said, “Crew isn’t necessarily a sport that’s about natural talent. Results depend on whoever wants it the most and is willing to do the most for it. At Baldwin, we’re finally really developing as a team on the Schuylkill. If we want to build the name we’re trying to, we all have to show up every day and dedicate ourselves to improvement.”

When asked about the most important aspect of rowing, Johnson explained the significance of “giving your all” as an individual while displaying an equal level of diligence as a contributing member of the team. 

Johnson also noted synchronization and unity as fundamentals in training a successful team, adding how “everyone has to want the win equally or else it won’t work. Especially within quads and doubles, you and your oarswomen should hold a sense of responsibility towards each other and all work towards a common goal.” 

While a firm believer in hard work, Johnson highlights what some forget is most important in any activity you pick up: finding real value and enjoyment in what you do. 

She asserts that “in a way, crew keeps me sane. I’m a very energetic person and that energy needs to go somewhere. I’m thankful that this sport allows me a designated time where I don’t need to focus on anything else other than moving the boat faster.” 

For Johnson’s relationship with rowing, “real value” also extends to the sport’s encouragement of a sense of independence. When asked about her proudest moments throughout the span of her career, she could have spotlighted her win at the Philly Youth Regatta or her placement at the 2021 Club Nationals, but it was her participation in the Scholastic National Regatta that stood out the most. 

“I remember I had done really well in my single. That was probably the moment when I realized I could excel in a small boat and achieve something that was all my own,” she said

Johnson’s fellow teammates contribute to her drive for excellence. Co-captain Grace Colucci ‘23 commented, “Anna contributes a love for the sport that is displayed in her leadership and dedication to the team.”

As a college-bound rower for the University of Pennsylvania’s crew team, Johnson looks forward to continuing her passion for the sport at a much more “heightened level” and with “forty other girls who are all there to be the best collegiate team in the nation.”