Mary Whipple explains her position to non-rowers that there are eight rowers in the boat
and she is the ninth. Whipple is the straight-talking, straight-steering coxswain of the
United States women’s eight.
Nearly a decade in the US national team’s current
best performing boat has propelled Whipple into the
number two position on the list of top ten female
rowers active in 2010. This feat is extraordinary when
considering that Whipple is sitting directly behind the
great Ekaterina Karsten-Khodotovitch.
earned in 2010. A World Best Time has also come
from Whipple’s boat – in 2006 at the World Rowing
Championships in Eton – and this was accomplished by
breaking the World Best Time of another of Whipple’s
boats, in 2004 at the Athens Olympic Games.
To reach that number two spot, Whipple, 30, has made
an art out of being a coxswain. She has turned the
‘ninth seat’ into a very specific talent and her talent has
helped get eight rowers across the finish line first on
Right from the start of her rowing career, Whipple was
coxing. She began in high school and then moved on to
coxing at the University of Washington, one of the top
rowing universities in the United States. Already at the
university level Whipple was part of successful crews,
so trialling for the national team was a foreseeable step.
© 2008 Michael Steele/Getty Images
Whipple made the senior national team 10 years ago and
coxed her boat to a fourth-place finish. The following
year, 2002, Whipple became a World Champion. She
has not looked back since.
Whipple considers herself one of the team and will
often join in on land workouts. She admits she has only
tried rowing a couple of times but when she can find
a single that is small enough to fit her 48kg frame and
160cm height she would like to row more frequently.
Whipple’s success includes two Olympic medals from
two Olympic Games, one of them gold. It also includes
four World Championship titles, the most recent