Student-Athlete Spotlight

Regina Salmons, C'18 - Women's Rowing

1. Name: Regina Salmons

2. Class Year: 2018

3. Sport: Women's Rowing

4. Position: Co-Captain/1V Starboard

5. Why did you choose Penn?
I chose Penn because on my official visit, I just had this overwhelming sense that I was home. The combination of competitive athletics and the wide academics that the University has to offer is killer. I felt like I had the chance to do anything at Penn, and I’ve had a million unique experiences in Philadelphia with Penn that wouldn’t have been possible at any other school. With one of the best English departments in the country and the Kelly Writers House, I have had the most influential poets and professors of the 20th/21st century guiding me on my way. I feel incredibly prepared to go onto graduate school and enter the professional sphere, and to continue competing at an elite level. The world is mine.

6. What does the experience of being a Penn Rowing student-athlete mean to you?
It means that I am a part of one the oldest and best traditions and legacies in collegiate sports. As a Penn Rower my home is Boathouse Row, where Penn Rowers have been challenging the limits of the human condition for just about 170 years. With the rise of women’s sports in the past forty years, Penn has been at the forefront for giving women the same opportunities. I feel incredibly honored to be a part of this tradition and to push Penn to the top of the NCAA. With Wes Ng as our coach, we are slowly devouring the Ivy League and bringing Penn to the top. I’m so excited to have been at the front of this pivot in competitiveness of our program and to see how far the team is going to go the next few years.

7. What would you say to the donors who invest in your experience as a Rowing student-athlete? 
Thank you. Everything that I am able to do and accomplish is because you have invested in our program and in me. As a student on financial aid and coming from a small high school rowing program my mind was blown when I got to Penn and had access to its amazing resources. With one of the best weight rooms in the country, a nutritionist, amazing medical staff and trainers who give so much care—I’m able to stay healthy and operate at peak performance because of the funds you have so generously given to our program. Especially being in a sport like rowing, where in order to compete at the top end you need top end equipment—our boat house is filled with amazing boats because of people like you, and we’re able to get where we need to go because of your kindness. Every day when I shove off the docks, I know its an opportunity and a gift given to me, and I’m excited for the day when I too can become a donor and give back to future teammates.

8. What has been your favorite moment/memory with Penn Rowing?
Beating Harvard- three times. The first time at the Ivy League Championships my sophomore year, racing at 6am due to insane weather conditions, after having lost to them earlier in the season. We made the final, coming in 4th for a best finish ever. The second time at the Head of the Charles my junior fall, I’m stroking (as an aside my dad went to Harvard and I’m from Boston so beating them is important to me) the boat, and as we’re coming around to the Weld Boathouse, we begin passing Harvard-Radcliffe, and we complete the pass by their docks, so all their family, friends and teammates see us passing them. It was savage. And then, beating them again both as a crew AND a team this year at the Ivy League Championships, coming in 4th overall.

9. What does life after Penn look like?
After I graduate, I’m planning to train full time in Princeton with the National Team for a couple of years, then eventually go to law school.  After law school, the dream is to work for a non-profit/government agency to write legislation on domestic abuse/sexual assault.

10. What are some lessons that you have learned through athletics at Penn that will stay with you after graduation?
I’ve learned the importance of grit and guts. More people are afraid to succeed than fail, and to be a champion, it takes just grinding every day. It takes a lot of courage to go for it, and it’s in the moments you don’t expect. Its in the middle thousand meters of a 12k, when you could go a little slower or a little faster and you take the risk even though it doesn’t seem like five seconds over the course of fifty minutes will have an impact. But it does. It adds up. All the seconds and the inches add up. If you put in the time, then you can own the dream.

Freshman year, I came in with no upper body muscles, unable to do a single pull up or push up. In one year, I put on ten pounds of muscle, just doing as many repetitions of anything as I could. We have a quote on the wall of the boathouse, that we slap every day as we walk down the stairs from the locker room to the bay. It says “The Will to Win means nothing without the Will to Prepare”. It’s true, Penn Athletics has taught me the will to prepare. The will to get in there when you don’t want to, when you feel like you can’t, when you’re defeated, when you’re victorious - no matter what, to get the work done.

When doing my classwork, I think as a student-athlete I’m more efficient than my peers. I write my papers better and faster than they do, because I value my time. They might have time to watch four hours of Netflix or goof off, but I don’t. I’m going to get an A and I’m going to have time to get in my second work out of the day, because I don’t have any other options. I’m not going to be on facebook writing my papers, because if I am, then I won’t have time to stretch or take a recovery nap. If I stop grinding, I get behind, and I don’t like losing. Once you’re in the zone, you just gotta go the distance.