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The Student Site of Castilleja School

Counterpoint

The Student Site of Castilleja School

Counterpoint

Committed Gators: Vivi Sun

Vivi+Sun+24+is+committed+to+row+for+Harvard-Radcliffe+Rowing.
Caitlyn Lee
Vivi Sun ’24 is committed to row for Harvard-Radcliffe Rowing.

This is a public service announcement: All of you anxious parents out there can calm down. Your child does not need to start rowing at age five.

“If you put a five year old [in a boat], they’re gonna sink,” said Harvard-Radcliffe rowing commit Vivi Sun ’24.

If not simply for the safety of your child, listen to Sun because this rowing phenom knows what she is doing.

Sun did not start rowing until high school, when the pandemic prohibited her from playing other sports.

“I used to be a basketball and lacrosse player. Over COVID, all the sports shut down,” Sun said. “I’ve always really enjoyed exercising or just participating in athletics, so I really wanted to do something.”

Sun’s friend, Greta Bollyky ’24, introduced her to the sport. After a few fumbles and flippings—“It was pretty rough. I did not look that good,” she said—Sun rowed her way to greatness, qualifying and placing at many fancy-shmancy-sounding competitions.

“Head of the Charles is the biggest regatta in the world. I’ve been three times,” Sun said. Her team, Redwood Scullers, placed second in the women’s quad in 2022 and third in 2023. Sun’s team has also placed on the podium at Nationals.

Sun’s achievements do not only remain domestic but they span internationally as well: “I was able to go to the Youth World Championships in France this summer, which is really fun. We managed to make it to the A finals. There are A, B, C and D finals. So we were able to qualify for A finals, and we placed fifth, so not last.”

Fifth in the World Championships is anything but last.

And while Sun may be attending prestigious competitions in France, she looks anything but preppy.

“Oakleys are the way to go. I just got a new pair for Christmas, so I’m excited about that. The frame is white, and the lenses are orange, red, and purple,” Sun said. “I love orange, so I really wanted to get a pair of those.”

For those who heard Sun’s senior speech, maybe her new orange sunglasses will bring her even more “orange moments.” Or perhaps she’ll wear her orange Oakleys with her orange wedding dress?

After learning about all of Sun’s accomplishments and pizazz, you parents are probably doubting the fact that Sun began her sport as a teenager.

But it’s true. And it’s not just Sun.

“I started average. I think a lot of people start their freshman year since rowing is one of those sports where you don’t have to start when you’re like five or six to be good at it,” Sun said. “Also, you get stronger. Your peak is honestly after college, so even if you start young, you’re not gonna be at your peak.”

You fretful parents hear that?

So take Sun’s advice: “Do as many sports as you can to try and find the one that you really enjoy doing. You kind of know what sport stands out to you. You’ll get lost in the sport.”

After that, doing one extra thing couldn’t hurt. “Our team’s obsessed with Airheads strips, and GoGo squeeZ,” Sun said.

So the secret to success? Don’t make your child start rowing early. Just be sure to feed them Airheads and GoGo squeeZ.

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About the Contributor
Caitlyn Lee, Managing Editor
Caitlyn Lee '25 is a Managing Editor for Counterpoint. This year, Caitlyn is excited to uncover all of the different stories on campus, from quirky to inspiring, and she looks forward to collaborating with the staff to share them with the community. When she isn't writing, you can find her swimming, playing BuzzFeed quizzes or munching on Trader Joe's snacks.

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