That year he joined Sammamish Rowing Association (SRA) and instantly understood why his friends had kept pestering him about the sport. “My experience at SRA was awesome. From the very beginning I fell in love with the sport and started making new friends, many of them I still keep in touch with,” Maesner added. Rowing is uniquely both individual and team oriented. Sitting in your seat in the boat you are in your own bubble, but you work together with your team for a common purpose. That teamwork led to one of Eli’s most memorable moments rowing for SRA.
During his senior year in high school, Eli’s boat won at Brentwood Regatta followed by a win at Regionals a few weeks later. “It was super awesome because we had only one or two practices in that lineup before we raced at Brentwood and we still ended up pulling out the win. Then a few weeks later going and winning regionals for the second time ever was incredible.” The thrill of a first place finish is addicting, and the satisfaction from executing a solid race with some of your best friends and teammates is an incredible experience. Eli’s rowing career would not end his senior year of high school. Through his hard work and dedication to the sport he loved, he was recruited to the University of Washington’s Rowing Program coached by Michael Callahan.
Rowing is a huge part of Maenser’s life, but he has made sure to find balance outside of the boathouse. As an Environmental Studies Major, Maesner is currently doing an internship with UW Athletics focusing on sustainability in college athletics. It is also part of his senior capstone research project required by his major. Rowing, Maesner said, has helped him balance other areas of his life. He commented, “Rowing has taught me how to prioritize and move on once something is done. This has been very beneficial in that while at practice- that’s your only focus and priority, but then once you leave you should completely forget about the practice or the erg piece and go and do something else. Whether it’s school work, hanging out with friends, video games, or just watching TV all of these help me move on from practice whether it was good or bad.”
Even though rowing can be incredibly demanding, many athletes, like Maesner, find that the discipline and rigor of crew make them better time managers. It also makes athletes strong goal setters. Maesner’s next goal? “Winning the varsity eight event at the IRA national championships,” he said.