Almost a decade ago, Patricia Destine began her rowing journey and hasn’t looked back since. Patricia’s career began in 2012 when she joined club team Row New York where she later became a coach and continues to share her passion for the sport to this day. Alongside old colleague turned friend, and now co-host, Denise Aquino, Rowing in Color (est. 2020), a podcast, was inspired and created by the overwhelming feeling of not feeling heard and the desire to amplify the other voices of color in the rowing world.
The impact of the 5 star rated podcast has been outstanding in the community- with over 50 published episodes they have reached listeners in across 17 countries, 350+ cities and 30,000 downloads (and counting). Episodes have featured the voices of everyday rowers, coaches and parents sharing similar experiences and those of their own. Destine speaks on the impact of the pandemic as well, where we started seeing more and more people speak on the lack of inclusivity of rowing. She sees this as something positive as “conversation leads to a solution”. With such great purpo
se comes having to face challenges such as knowing who has the “right voice” to represent certain challenges, Destine tells us, which makes this podcast all
worthwhile, as they have those hard conversations many of us are too scared to have. Other challenges that come with a podcast that keeps it real, is having to face those who don’t view representation and the lack of inclusivity as a problem, but they manage to do so by staying true to their mission and purpose.
As a rower turned coxswain herself, Patricia immediately began to note how she as a person of color was disadvantaged compared to other teammates, feeling “everything has to be done ten times better than the kids who had all or some of those things”- things such as being white, rich, tall and/ or connected in rowing. Things that made her feel as if she hated rowing. But, she thanks her co-host Denise and friend May, both women of color who showed her success in rowing, if you are happy in your current situation. With this mindset, Patricia was able to maintain her passion for rowing. Being part of Row New York has also played a role in her awareness of the sport and how anyone can take part in it, where she was a part of a community that reflected more of who she was and where she comes from.
In the future Rowing in Color hopes to not only be a podcast of representation but one that can set a foundation that can support people of color in every way. Destine and Aquino currently hope to achieve this through their very own mentorship program as well as even sending their own boats to compete at big races such as the Head of the Charles!
“Have fun and be around people who make you smile…anyone can row, just keep the door open for the next person behind you,” Destine says. As we make progress in the sport of rowing, the Rowing in Color podcast is doing exactly what must be done in order to raise awareness, introduce new voices, and create an environment for everyone to succeed in. Their mission is to spread the importance of the effect of race in a white-dominated sport. You can get involved with Rowing in Color by following their Instagram page @rowingincolor, checking out their website rowingincolor.com, and of course by listening to them on Spotify/ Apple.
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