While on a recruiting visit to Central Oklahoma, Liz Mathews walked into the wrong boathouse.
It was a simple mistake that could easily be made by anyone on their first visit to the Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River.
But for Mathews, the confusion turned out to be life changing.
“I was in Devon (Boathouse) instead of Chesapeake,” said Mathews, not realizing the Devon Boathouse is home to the Oklahoma City University rowing team. “I was asking around for the (UCO) coaches and then the coach at OCU said, ‘Oh, you're at the wrong boathouse, let me walk you across the street' and on our way she told me a lot of things I liked about their school.”
Once Mathews returned home to Wichita, Kan., she began researching her new college option.
“It's funny that I found out about OCU that way,” she said. “Then once I saw they also had a great nursing program, which is my major now, I kind of realized (OCU) was what I was looking for.”
The decision has turned out to be a good one. Now a junior at OCU, Mathews is beginning to make a name for herself with success on the water.
“Being in Oklahoma City has given me a lot of great opportunities with rowing,” Mathews said. “Because of the resources here, I was able to go to the U-23 National Team trials last summer. We also have a lot of world famous athletes coming through, and I can always ask them questions, so it's just a great place to learn the sport.”
Despite nursing a rib injury, Mathews turned heads at the Head of the Oklahoma Regatta over the weekend. She finished in the top three of four races, including a first-place finish in the women's open single during Saturday night's sprints, placing ahead of two national team members.
“I don't think I'm at my potential yet,” said Mathews, who also took first in the collegiate single on Sunday. “I think I've grown a lot just since school started this year. Even though I'm not working out as much because of my rib, my technique is getting better and making me faster.”
After her eligibility at OCU is done, Mathews intends to continue training during the extra year required to finish her degree with hopes of eventually making the women's Senior National Team.
“(OCU) has really fed my goals (in rowing) and made them more realistic,” she said. “I started having those high aspirations in high school and a lot of colleges I looked at just want you to be fast in college. But OCU really focuses on making you a high performance athlete the rest of your life. That's why I love this program.”