Those in the rowing community set lofty goals for themselves. None reach higher than some of the shortest among us. Through social media, a like-minded group of women self-titled “the shorties” has come together under the most unlikely yet hilarious sigil. A shrimp.

“We were brainstorming ways to find each other on the leaderboards during live rows,” said Erin Nader, a Shortie and captain of the group’s fundraising efforts for Row for the Cure this fall. “Hydrow displays the people during rows who would be near you on the water if it was a race. I suggested using an emoji on our leader board names, and the shrimp jumped out as a funny option to represent our short stature.”

The Hydrow Shorties are a group of rowers who use the Hydrow erg and its interactive, social media capabilities to encourage one another, hold competitions, build a community, and, most importantly to our story, fundraise for causes for which they feel passionate about.

For those Concept2 die-hards out there, a Hydrow rowing machine is the Peloton of the rowing equipment world. An erg with an interactive 22″ touchscreen display and impressive front-facing speakers bring the river to your living room. These features, which may seem like a luxury to many serious rowers, has been a Godsend for the shorties.

“The Shorties have been such an important support system during this crazy year! While rowing brought us together, we have all connected beyond our fitness journey. Whatever challenge I’m facing, from virtual schooling to trouble sleeping, I know I can find a shorty to give me some advice and encouragement,” Nader said.

With October coming up, the team began looking for a way to support breast cancer research. Many individuals within the group experienced some impact by breast cancer, either directly as survivors or as friends, family, and coworkers of those battling this disease.

“In our group, we have survivors, ladies currently undergoing treatment, and all of us have friends, family members, and/or coworkers who have fought or are fighting breast cancer,” Nader said. “Our group has been very active, with many ladies signing up to row and others donating to the cause or purchasing RFTC gear. We are very competitive and have been trying to work our way up the fundraising leaderboard.”

To date, the Shorties are crushing their #PinktheBoatHouseChallenge goal raising over $2,000. To donate to the Shortie’s campaign, click here.

Nader herself is rowing in memory of her aunt, a breast cancer survivor, who just passed away after contracting COVID-19. She is also honoring her coworker, who is also a breast cancer survivor.

“I feel like their strength in undergoing treatment and persevering pushes me every day. I’m so thankful that I have this opportunity to support this cause,” she said.

Throughout October, Row for the Cure and its partners are encouraging the rowing community to engage in the fight against Breast Cancer, by participating in the #PinktheBoathouse Challenge.

To learn more, click here.

To donate, click here.

Written with love by RFTC Board Member Sarah Marshall