Former Tiger rower Hannah Gammon now an Alabama girl

Hannah Gammon has become a Bama girl.

The former Marietta Tiger Navy rower will be a “rising junior” at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa next school semester. There, she’s also on the Crimson Tide women’s crew team.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” said Gammon at late Thursday afternoon’s Learn to Row camp at the Marietta boathouse. “I always talked to (MHS girls’ crew coach) Joe (Tewkesbury) about rowing Division I, and I was interested in it. So, to actually have it happen was a big deal.”

The 19-year-old Gammon was at the annual summer clinic on the Muskingum River to get a workout in a single shell. With her was younger sister Sydney, one of the participants in the week-long Learn to Row camp.

“Hannah’s done real well for herself,” Tewkesbury said. “She rode four years here.”

At Marietta High three years ago, Gammon went undefeated with the varsity 8.

When she was a Tiger Navy sophomore, she and Hailey Carman were in a double scull, and nearly advanced to nationals. Carman is now rowing at the University of Charleston (W.Va.).

“I see Hailey all the time when we row in New Jersey,” Gammon said. “We catch up with each other which is definitely fun.”

The question, of course, begs to be asked, “How does a Buckeye end up continuing her education at and rowing competitively in Alabama of all places?”

Gammon laughed.

“I did consider going to Marietta College, and looked at Ohio State,” she recalled. “But Alabama is just very inviting. It’s definitely a cool atmosphere.”

Cool?

“Well, it’s definitely hot like here, but they have 100 percent humidity all the time,” said Gammon, smiling. “It’s sweltering.”

Gammon paused.

“Oh, my mom’s from Alabama,” she continued, “and that was a big factor in me going there.

“She drove me down there. It’s about a 10-11-hour drive.”

At Alabama, Gammon is a double major in finance and economics – now.

“Well, it’s funny because when I went into my undergrad, I was actually planning to go into the athletic training program and study some kind of sports medicine,” she said. “They have a phenomenal program and you get to work with the football team and a lot of their other really successful athletic teams. I looked into that.

“When I got there, I was in an exercise science major and I enjoyed it but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to pursue. So, that’s when I switched to the business school.”

As far as rowing for the Crimson Tide goes, Gammon was technically a “preferred walk-on” at the beginning, she said.

“I didn’t sign for scholarship as a freshman,” Gammon said. “But I definitely got faster and they recruit a lot of girls that they don’t offer money to at first.

“Then they bring them in and get them in the shape they want – and then they offer money.”

Gammon said that the Alabama women’s crew roster features about “75-80 girls” and has “a really good team dynamic.”

“Everybody gets along really well, which is a big thing,” she added.

As a frosh, Gammon rowed with the novice 8 and 4 boats. Last season, she was in the college 8 and open 8+ shells.

“I move around all the time,” Gammon said.. “Usually, I’m in the 5 (seat). I’ve stroked a little bit down there.

“I was in a 3 seat in the 4 that we raced in the conference.”

Not surprisingly, Gammon has seen some of the country as a college rower.

“We row a lot in Tennessee, Oak Ridge and Chattanooga,” she said. “We spent a little time in California this year.

“We go up to New Jersey, and get a good taste of travel, which is fun.

“In the fall, we have some crews go up to Boston for the head of the Charles which is one of the bigger fall races.”

All in all, university life down in the deep South appears to be agreeing with Gammon.

“You know, if I can go basically anywhere I want for four years, I might as well experience a different part of the country,” she said, smiling.

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at (740) 373-2121, x534, or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com