A Young Athlete's Journey Into Sport

Cooper’s story into the sport of rowing began on the erg. He learned how to row at school (TOPS K-8) from his health teacher who used a special elective class to teach kids how to row. His next foray into the sport was to try indoor rowing in competition at NW Ergomania! 2015 in Magnuson Park.

Cooper Berrysmith was definitely the tallest middle school student to walk up to an ergometer that morning. His height helped, but so did his determination as he sat down to battle it out in the Youth 500m Dash. Not surprising to coaches in the room, he crossed the finish line first, leading the pack of 37 youth rowers by almost 10 seconds.

When asked about how it felt to win the dash, Cooper responded with a sigh (even a month after), “Really tired! But it felt good.” After his great performance in that small race, a couple coaches from Pocock Rowing Center invited Cooper to come try rowing on the water. Cooper joined the Middle School Rowing and Fitness Team a few days later and has been testing out the Seattle waters ever since.

Now in his eighth week of spring season, Cooper has logged many hours on the water. He has stuck with it and had a great time. The question on most coach’s minds is: “What is going to help this young man stick with it and what does he really love about the sport?” When his current coach asked him this question, Cooper cocked his head to the side and then thought for a moment. His buddies from the team were crowded around him, joking and chatting with him as he thought. Without any words, Cooper reached out and simply tapped each one of those young men on the head in a playful way. (His height helps this happen quite easily.) He smiled and said, “These guys… It’s a real team sport.”

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