Hodnett discovers her passion in the water

Lynn Hodnett was a softball player, but she took up rowing five years ago.

Jack Satzinger

Lynn Hodnett was a longtime softball player before she set foot in a boat five years ago. While she loved taking the field, she’s found her true calling on the water.

“I think rowing just felt more right,” she said. “It was a better fit for my competitive outlet.”

While most accomplished athletes crave competition, Hodnett takes it a step further in the water.

She doesn’t like rowing for the satisfaction of winning or because it’s fun — she likes the sport because it pushes her body to its limits.

“There’s nothing like the moment after you’re done racing and you just know, ‘I could not have pulled any harder,’” she said. “That utter exhaustion is strangely euphoric.”

Hodnett said she found enjoyment in playing softball back in the day, but the pleasure she finds in rowing is different.

She said that as a whole, rowing requires strength in order to have quick and complete strokes on the water but also requires conditioning in order to last throughout a whole race.

That’s not the case with softball, a sport in which players can sometimes stand in the field for extended periods of time without moving.

“You have to do it over a matter of minutes instead of just a couple of seconds,” she said. “It’s a different feeling than any other sport I’ve ever played.”

Hodnett only started rowing as a sophomore in high school, so she came to campus with a lot to learn.

She learned a lot in her first year on the team but still had room to grow.

Now, after focusing on “one thing at a time,” she’s developed into one of the team’s most valued rowers in the boat.

“She’s … beginning to be one of those rowers that comes along once in a while that absolutely knows what she’s doing and has the power to back it up,” head coach Wendy Davis said.

Minnesota co-captain Katherine Windsor has also had a hand in Hodnett’s development, by leading with energy and a positive attitude that’s infectious among the rest of the roster.

“I really try to just inspire the girls to get after it each and every day,” Windsor said.

Hodnett has gotten after it the entire spring season in order to achieve that euphoria of post-race exhaustion.

Still, being the competitor she is, she said one of the best feelings is passing another team’s boat during competition.

“That’s a pretty amazing feeling,” Hodnett said, “to just slowly walk through another boat.”