Paul Byrne’n up Casitas Rowing


Hanna Malco

As the season comes to a close, Casitas Rowing’s lightweight boat is still rowing strong.

Within the last few months of the season, Casitas Rowing took home gold from the SoCal Cup Regatta hosted in Long Beach on March 14, and earned bronze at the Long Beach Invitational on April 12.

Foothill students in the lightweight boat include juniors Chris Mitrano and Noah Greenslit, along with seniors Paul Byrne and the coxswain, Emma Bangs.


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Byrne, bow pair member at two seat, was introduced to rowing when his mom dragged him and his brother Jimmy Byrne into the car and drove them to practice. It didn’t take long before he took an interest in the sport.

Jimmy Byrne isn’t currently rowing, but enjoyed the experience and said that it’s “the hardest sport in the world.”

“It’s the most rewarding out of the sports I’ve tried,” Jimmy Byrne said.

After five years of rowing, Paul Byrne is happy with his decision to stay with Casitas Rowing, and owes most of the team’s success to coach Eric Gillett.

“He’s really tough on us, but I feel like it has helped us a lot to gear down and do well,” he said.

Their major win at the SoCal Cup Regatta meant a lot to the team because they beat their competitors, Long Beach, who went to Nationals last year.

“We could have performed better, but it was a good race,” Byrne said.

Many rowers are extremely dedicated to their sport, putting in five days a week, and they are expected to do extra workouts on their days off.

“Rowing is one of the most challenging sports out there and it takes a special attitude to compete at this level. It takes time and dedication but the payoff is huge when it all comes together for the team,” Gillett said.

Working out, resting, and eating right are the keys to succeed at every race, and Byrne describes the process as “almost like a game; how fast can you recover.”

With all the hard work they’ve put in, Byrne feels that his team “definitely [has] a chance at going to Nationals this year.”

Gillett described each race as broken down into three main components: the start, the base, and the sprint.

“We have been working on our sprint over the last couple of weeks and we now have all the elements we need to win,” he said. Gillett is also “very proud of all their hard work and dedication to the sport and their team.”

Featured Photo Credit: Austin Hunt/The Foothill Dragon Press

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