Student Finley White Starts Rowing Club After Moving From New Zealand

Sophomore Finley White has lived in four continents and five countries, having moved five times in her life.

Where are you from?

White: “I was born in South Africa, then I moved to England … Then (I moved) here for a couple of years, then Australia for three, New Zealand (for) four, then back here nearly five months ago.”

What are the biggest differences?

White: “Between here and New Zealand, everything is really different … It’s so different that there’s not really much to compare … It was kind of an easy move because it’s so different.”

What do you mean by a move that’s very different being very easy?

White: “If it was really similar, I’d probably find it harder because you cling to the things you find similar, but here it’s so drastically different that it’s simple. Nothing is the same.”

Do you like moving?

White: “I kind of hate moving, but if I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I find it quite easy to get to know people because I’ve got some things to say.”

What do you miss?

White: “(I miss) rowing, I guess, because I rowed like twice a day in New Zealand, because it was out of my school. I miss my club, and I miss my friends a lot.”

when you get the boat moving properly, it’s just the best feeling in the world

— Finley White

Why did you start rowing?

White: “My dad used to row, and so ever since I was (young), he said, ‘You should do rowing, you should do rowing.’ So when I got the opportunity, I took it. It was quite hard to start with.”

Is rowing a bigger thing in New Zealand?

White: “It is quite big, like it’s big here as well, but maybe (more) on the coasts, just because we’re in the Midwest and there isn’t a lot of water for it and not a lot of publicity. But in New Zealand, pretty much every school or place had a club.”

And there’s a rowing club here now?

White: “I’ve sort of started one. There was one in Topeka …, but it’s 25 miles there and 25 miles back, and I wouldn’t get back until like 9 at night.”

Now that it’s too cold to go out on the water, how is the club progressing?

White: “Now we do fitness. I don’t know how it will work because there are winter sports, … but there are some people who are continually coming.”

What time is your season?

White: “Here …  halfway through summer is when our first regatta was, and this weekend (Nov. 1-2) was our last.”

What is a regatta?

White: “It’s like a meet, kind of.”

What will your next season be like?

White: “In Lawrence, we’re just building up knowledge of it, spreading awareness and getting people interested. Hopefully we’ll be able to go to some regattas, but it’s just getting the practice up.”

Why did you want to start the club?

White: “It’s just such a big part of my life, because I literally did homework and rowed, pretty much. I really love it … In a sprint race, when you get the boat moving properly, it’s just the best feeling in the world.”