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81 Years Young, Eve Green Still Rows Her Boat

This weekend, over 1,000 rowers compete at the USRowing Masters National Championship in Florida.

No one knows who will win — that’s the beauty of sports. But one thing is certain: The oldest female athlete there is Eve Green.

And the 81-year-old from Westport is sure to be in contention.

She’s drawn the admiration of many — for many reasons. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune profiled her yesterday, in a long story.

Eve Green (center) shows her stuff. (Photo by Elaine Litherland/ Sarasota Herald Tribune)

It began with her diagnosis of breast cancer 20 years ago. Wearing her rowing gear helped Eve get through radiation.

“It was a psychological thing,” she said in the paper. “I told myself, ‘I’m not a cancer patient. I’m a rower.’

And quite a rower, too. She is competing in 5 events, over 4 days. The Masters limit is 6.

“She’s my hero,” 50-year-old Valerie Leinfelder — 1 of 45 Saugatuck Rowing Club members at the Florida races — said. “She shows that there’s nothing stopping you to get out there and keep going and be a healthy adult well into your golden years.

“I want to be Eve when I’m in my 80s.”

The Herald-Tribune said that Eve rows every Thursday morning with  coach, Nicky Donea, a former member of the Romanian National and Olympic team.

“She’s a fighter and believes in competition,” Donea said. “Every single time I take her on the water, she says, ‘I love it when it goes smooth.’

“If her stroke goes smooth, she always says, ‘I love this. I want to do this forever.’ ”

When Eve — a Coleytown Middle School teacher — retired at age 62, she planned to go back to school.

That didn’t happen.

“I figured that if I learned a new trade,” she said, “nobody was going to hire me anyway, so I decided to become a jock.”

As a coxswain, she said, “At first I was so nervous that I had to make the boat slow down under bridges. I was afraid I would hit them.

“Then I decided it looked like a lot of fun and I could row also.”

She could — and she does. Eve competes in a dozen or so events a year. She’s raced overseas, in Canada, at Boston’s Head of the Charles Regatta — and now in Florida.

Some people go there to retire.

Eve Green is there to race.

(Hat tip to alert “06880” readers Gary Singer and Ben Wilder for sending the newspaper link along.)

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