Massachusetts Woman Dottie Stewart Is a 101-Year-Old Rowing Powerhouse
I brought my daughter up to Boston yesterday to compete in the Crash B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championship. Like any other parent, I expected the highlight of my day to be watching my own kid competing, grabbing a bite to eat and heading back home.
While I fully enjoyed watching my daughter row competitively for the first time, I also thoroughly enjoyed watching a 101-year-old woman set a new world record right before my eyes.
Her name is Dottie Stewart. The former physical education teacher told me that she's been rowing since 95.
"The year 1995?" I asked.
"No, since the age of 95," Dottie said.
What an inspiration. Here's a woman who started a new hobby, a new interest, at the age of 95. Competitive rowing is an incredibly challenging pastime. It has never been confused with knitting. Rowing is arguably one of the most physically taxing sports out there.
How many adults can say they've tried a brand new activity in the past five years? Probably not many. And if you're reading this, chances are you're probably not 95 years old. Just remarkable.
As Dottie resiliently rowed her Concept 2 rower in front of her adoring fans, she fed on the energy from the crowd, which got more and more excited as she chipped away at the 2,000-meter race.
After, Dottie was barely winded as she talked to me about her joy for rowing. She says that she rows at least a little bit every day at the Beverly YMCA. She's been a member there for the past 69 years.
To put that into perspective, it would have been possible for Dottie to have joined the YMCA in 1954, meet a baby that was born that year, watch the baby grow up and get a job at the Y, keep that job for more than 50 years, and attend the baby's retirement party.
That's a lot of physical fitness.