Kayla Patitucci didn’t start out in the coxswain seat, but once she found it, she knew it was the right seat for her. “I went to my first camp as a rower, but my dad suggested I try being a coxswain and he was right. I loved it.” Patitucci, a sophomore at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, NJ, is in her second season of coxing.

“The first time I got in the coxswain seat I was incredibly nervous. All I could focus on was steering and making sure I didn’t hit anything.” Patitucci coxes for her high school crew, practicing on the inner harbor waters just north of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Glimmers of the high-rise casino buildings loom on the horizon as she navigates the saltwater inlet.

Kayla Patitucci

Kayla Patitucci

“I was always a pretty quiet person,” she says, “but I’ve gotten louder since I started coxing. I find that now I’m more likely to take the lead in school group projects, and more naturally step up and take charge. Coxing has definitely shaped me. I’ve become more outgoing because of coxing.”

On Building Skills as a Coxswain

Listen to what your coach is saying, and listen to your rowers. They both give me feedback about my coxing, and how to call their rowing.

On Staying Warm

That’s simple. I wear an insulated cox suit, one of those big float suits that goes from head to toe.

On Being an In-boat Coach

It’s hard in the Four, but I’ve gotten used to it. I try to be an inner coach, calling for trust (of the rigger-side), and to stay focused. It’s the basics, really.

On Knowing What to Say in the Boat

I always remind the rowers of what the coach has called for. I figure that can’t be wrong.

On Leadership

It depends on what it is. I’ve learned to take charge or be loud when they need it. Coxing has definitely changed me.

Kayla Patitucci washing her boat

Kayla Patitucci washing her boat

Coxes For Holy Spirit HS Crew

Years Coxing 2

School Holy Spirit HS, Absecon, NJ

Other Sports Soccer Mid-fielder

Sibling Order Oldest of Two

Role Model Her Mom