Carmel High School sophomore excels in national indoor rowing event


Callie Carpenter’s trip to the 2024 USRowing Indoor National Championships proved to be a fruitful one.

“I’ve done indoor rowing competitions before, like with my team on a smaller scale than the one we traveled to in (Alexandria) Virginia,” she said. “But I’ve never gone to one this big before.”

The Carmel High School sophomore finished second Feb. 3 in the U17 women’s 500-meter event and third in the 2,000-meter event on rowing machines.

Carpenter, 15, finished better than 144 other U17 women in the premier 2,000 event, which is the standard college coaches use to gauge recruits.

Carpenter said she saw they were doing the 20-minute event, held just for fun as it’s not a typical competition distance, and figured she could break the record.

“I did end up beating the record by almost 300 meters,” said Carpenter, who represents the Indianapolis Rowing Center, based at Eagle Creek Reservoir.

Carpenter said tournament officials wire all the rowing machines together, so she could see 19 other people on her screen and where she stood in comparison.

“The 2,000 meter I knew there were more girls than just those 20 because there were 95 entrants just at the Virginia competition,” she said. “I had no idea how I was going to do nationally. But I just saw that I was holding like five or six meters ahead of the second-place girl for a while because I could see how far I was ahead. It was just me telling myself to keep those six meters ahead.”

Carpenter said she was a little worried about her stamina with three events in one day, especially when she did the 20-minute event first.

Carpenter, who started rowing in the fall of 2020, wants to compete in rowing in college.

“Just after competing I had schools following me on my recruiting Instagram and recruiting profile,” Carpenter said. “Those were Washington D.C. and Virginia teams, so I think they were there and saw the results.”

She will compete in the Indianapolis Indoor Rowing Championships for the third consecutive year March 2 at the International School of Indianapolis.

“I tried every other sport under the sun,” Carpenter said. “I tried soccer, swimming, baseball and softball. I did dance when I was young. But I’m also into music, so it’s a balance of rowing and music at the same time.”

Carpenter plays five instruments, including bass in the symphony orchestra at CHS.