Row your boat

For most college seniors, the months leading up to December are some of the most stressful times filled with a spiral of college applications, essays, interviews and the pressure to do well in school. To tackle all of this is not an easy task, especially with the built up anticipation of waiting to hear back from colleges in which one letter will determine your future. 

For senior Lili Toledano, however, this is no longer a concern for her. Nov. 13 marks a day in her life in which she secured her bright future. As a freshman at Ladue Horton Watkins High School back in 2016, one specific P.E. class began her journey. 

“I started rowing because St. Louis Rowing Club came to my P.E. class one day during the fall and gave a presentation about it. I was playing field hockey at the time, but during the winter I decided one day to try it out. I wanted to try something new and I had heard really good things about rowing,” Toledano said. 

Although her rowing career began only a few short years ago, her experience has fallen nothing short of positive. 

“I have learned so much from this sport. It has taught me to push myself like no other has before. I have made so many friends and been able to travel all over the Midwest to race,” Toledano said.

Toledano’s rowing abilities have not gone unnoticed, as she was named a captain of the girls’ varsity captain this year. Additionally, her talent was demonstrated so well that she began the scouting process last year. 

“The recruitment process starts in the beginning of your junior year. I made a recruitment profile online and that way coaches that were interested in my profile could reach out via email. If they are interested, they will ask you for a phone call. And if all goes well, then one phone call leads to another and you keep in touch and send them updates. Then by the fall of your senior year, they will offer you an official visit,” Toledano said. 

After receiving an offer from Indiana University in Bloomington to row division one, Toledano made her life changing decision, and she was thrilled. 

“When I committed to Indiana to pursue my rowing career, I was in shock. I had dreams about being a college athlete since the day I started rowing and it such an accomplishing feeling. I am beyond excited to continue to row and cannot wait for the next four years,” Toledano said. 

Toledano has much to look forward to in continuing her rowing career.

“I am looking forward to becoming part of a family from the moment I get to Indiana. I am also looking forward to continuing my athletic and academic career at an NCAA Division 1 school that has a lot of school spirit and amazing people and being able to train hard and win metals,” Toledano said.

Jeremy Toledano, a sophomore at Ladue Horton, has joined his sister at St. Louis Rowing Club. Like Lili, he also began his rowing career just freshman year. 

I started because my sister Lili wanted me just to try it out and I ended up really liking it,” Jeremy said.

After Lili committed to Indiana, Jeremy was happy for her. However, he also had some mixed emotions. 

“I was super excited for her, especially because she put so much work into rowing and school and finding the right school for her,” Jeremy said. “Although I’m excited for her, I’m pretty sad because I’m going to be an only child when she leaves, and I’m going to miss her because her schedule is going to be very busy. But, I’m excited to see all that she’s going to accomplish,” Jeremy Toledano said.

Lili’s rowing career is only beginning, and she has many supporters rooting her on. 

“I would encourage teens to start rowing if they are looking for a sport that will make them in the best shape of your life, make lifelong friends, and push yourself to be an overall better athlete, teammate and person. I would not be the person I am today if I never started rowing,” Lili said.