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Bacchus Ready To Leave Her Mark

The first time Alyssa Bacchus heard about the sport of rowing, it was through a friend’s mother.It was the summer of 2012 and all eyes were on the London Olympic Games. You couldn’t turn on the television without seeing or hearing about outcome predictions, event results and even the sport of rowing.

“My friend’s mom saw [rowing] on the Olympics and thought it would be a good sport for us to try out together,” Bacchus said. “So, we enrolled in the local middle school program and I ended up really liking it.”

Ultimately, it was the people and the passion for the sport that propelled Bacchus through the next six years with First Coast Rowing Club in Jacksonville, Fla. Nothing was more enjoyable than having fun with her teammates at daily practices and getting in a really good workout.

That camaraderie with teammates is built through long hours spent on the water and in the gym, putting in the work to improve their craft. Timing and precision is tantamount to rowing a good race, but more important is dedication and perseverance.

“There are definitely a lot of hard days when you are like ‘why am I doing this,’” Bacchus said. “But persevering through the rough days to get to the better ones is what makes [rowing] worth it.”

One of those ‘better days’ came at the 2019 FSRA Sweep Championships. Bacchus helped her boat to a second-place finish in the Girls Junior 4+ category, falling shy of the gold by two one-hundredths of a second. Despite finishing in second, Bacchus was extremely satisfied with the 5:50.120 time that they posted, stating it was one of their best races of the season.

It was around this time that Bacchus was going through the recruitment process to row in college. Being from Florida, the incoming freshman had heard about the University of Miami, but it wasn’t until a teammate was recruited to The U that Bacchus realized that rowing at UM was a possibility.

“[Miami] had everything on my list that I wanted,” Bacchus said. “It had the academics. It’s far enough away from home to have the college experience, but not too far away. It has the city atmosphere and just a lot of good elements to it.”

Not only is Miami a large city, but it is also an international city, something that will greatly benefit Bacchus upon graduation. The rising-freshman hopes to work as a human rights attorney for an organization such as the United Nations, a career that will allow her to travel and help people around the world.

With 2024 a ways off yet, Bacchus is focused on the upcoming season.

“I’m looking forward to winning, to leaving a mark on the program with my fellow freshmen teammates and just doing the best that we can,” Bacchus said.

The Jacksonville native will bring technical skills and a great attention to detail to the UM rowing roster.

“Alyssa is incredibly coachable and has great technical abilities on the water,” assistant coach Claire Frenkel said. “Her desire to be precise will add such value to our team.”

Bacchus is one of seven newcomers to the roster for 2020-21 and will be one to watch this season.