Oct. 28, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Managing relationships on and off the water, junior Bailey Sanders is always focusing on the thing that means the most to her, her friends.
"I love Alabama because I found the team and the girls on it," Sanders said. "I'm pretty sure some of them are going to be my bridesmaids."
Rowing isn't something that always appealed to Sanders who was a competitive gymnast and dancer in high school. She didn't know about the rowing team until she investigated the sports clubs at the university and decided that rowing looked "really awesome."
She became a member of the Crimson Tide's inaugural novice squad in 2006-07. Now in her junior year, she is a coxswain on the varsity, a title that puts her in charge of navigating the course, steering the boat and acting as the crew's strategist and motivator.
"The coxswain needs to keep calm, controlled and focus on how to move the boat," Sanders said. "I feel like a war commander out there; we're on the hunt."
Her leadership skills have helped propel the team to bronze medals in the Collegiate 8+ and 4+ races in the season opening Chattanooga Head Race and a bronze in the 8+ and a gold in the 4+ at last weekend's Head of the Tennessee.
On top of the work she has to do for rowing, Sanders also carries a heavy course load. Majoring in international studies with minors in Spanish, Italian and creative writing, academics have always been a point of emphasis for her.
She graduated high school with a 4.0 grade point average that earned her a full scholarship at the Capstone. She still carries her 4.0 grade point average and is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society here on campus.
But staying busy with rowing and school doesn't get to Sanders at all. Always having a full-schedule is something she is used to and having her friends there with her helps.
"I love my college life and I love being on the rowing team," Sanders said.
With her "handy-dandy planner" that she buys every year from her former high school, Sanders is able to keep her busy schedule on track, no matter how hectic things may get.
"I would be a good secretary," Sanders said with a laugh.