Former Youth Rowing Teammates, Nauset Alums Compete At National Championships

by Brad Joyal

HARWICH – Although Maggie Farber and Shayna McCarthy were recently foes while competing against one another in the NCAA Division 3 rowing national championships, the two Nauset alums are hardly enemies.

Farber, an Orleans native, and McCarthy, a Brewster native, became friendly through Cape Cod Youth Rowing while attending Nauset Regional High School. Although the sport has led them down different paths — including competing against each other at the nationals — the two Nauset alums still hold a special bond as well as memories of rowing together at Long Pond in Harwich.

“It’s really special because we both have our own schools, our own teams and our own friends, but it’s that rooted connection to rowing and to the Cape that we’ll always have,” said Farber, a rising senior at Ithaca College. “Seeing her is always really special. Looking across the start line at a national championship and seeing this girl that I rowed with for years when we were first learning how to row is a really cool feeling.”

McCarthy competed for Wesleyan College’s women’s crew team the past four years after graduating from Nauset in 2020 — one year before Farber. Wesleyan and Ithaca have competed in both regular season and NCAA championship races, including this year’s national championships held May 31 to June 1 at East Fork/Harsha Lake in Bethel, Ohio.

Although the pair have forged their own rowing careers, they still remain in touch with each other and worked together while coaching Cape Cod Youth Rowing’s high school-aged rowers last summer.

“It was really fun to get to come back and be on the other side of it,” said McCarthy. “I think there wasn’t really a lot to look up to when the two of us were there, so it’s nice to show them that they can have a future in rowing if they want to.”

“It’s pretty easy to relate with them because there isn’t too much of an age gap,” added Farber. “I’ve really loved it. They are great kids and everyone is eager to be present and learn new things and work hard.”

Although McCarthy graduated from Wesleyan this spring with a psychology degree, she is preparing to continue her education and her rowing career at the University of Southern California next year. Her Wesleyan career was full of accolades, including All-NESCAC rowing and academic honors and All-American recognition. She was recently named the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association’s National Division III Athlete of the Year.

Farber, a psychology major with a minor in counseling, is set to return to Ithaca for her senior year. She was recently elected as a captain for Ithaca’s women’s rowing team alongside classmate Zoe Paradis Stern, a Westhampton native.

“I’ve always been trying to be a leader on my team, and I feel like me and Zoe both got elected because we’re uplifting and we try to do what’s best for the team in or out of practices or races,” said Farber, who is back on the Cape coaching at Cape Cod Youth Rowing this summer. “I felt as though I had earned it, and I’m really glad that I got it because I care a lot about my team.”

As much as Farber and McCarthy share a passion for rowing, both are eager to make a difference outside of the water once they finish school.

“I really want to help people,” McCarthy said. “I’m hoping to maybe do something in positive youth development through sports. I’d like to do something that helps others the way rowing helped me.”

Farber said that she hopes to go to graduate school and receive a certification in therapeutic recreation after graduating from Ithaca.

“I think nature can be really healing for people and really helpful if you’re going through something traumatic,” she said. “It can be really guiding and peaceful, so I’d like to help people get to that point that they can have a connection with the world.”

Despite embarking on different college journeys, rowing has helped the two former teammates embrace new challenges while pushing to achieve success.

“I feel like coming from the Cape, it's so small and you don’t really know what your opportunities are,” McCarthy said. “Coming out of high school, I think a lot of my friends thought it was funny that I was an athlete. Now, I think that perspective has changed.”