Every now and then, a team gets to show how fearless it can be and, often, there is one athlete who leads them there.
Senior and four-year rower Chelsea DeSouza was instrumental in leading the Mills College rowing team to a third-place finish — one of the best in recent Mills history — in the Varsity Eight and Varsity Four events in Portland, Oregon at the Northwest Invitational on April 3.
30 minutes after arriving in Portland, the regatta was postponed and transferred to a new site due to historic high wind, rain and hail. Not to be deterred, DeSouza and her teammates gathered the following morning to race in rainy 46-degree weather.
As stroke of the Varsity Eight, DeSouza guided her team to a third-place finish and then headed back to the starting line 40 minutes later for the Varsity Four race. Due to a last-minute lineup change, DeSouza found herself in a new position at the three seat while a first-year will little stroking experience moved into DeSouza’s usual four seat. DeSouza took it all in stride, kept her teammates focused and helped them perform their best.
“It was a weekend that gave Mills Crew the opportunity to prove how tough and determined we truly are,” DeSouza said.
Head Coach Carrie Davis agreed and added, “Chelsea’s leadership, athletic abilities and constant optimism in the face of adversity were essential in the team’s success.”