Defying the odds as a non-recruited student-athlete, Morgan McGovern '06'02 quickly developed as a rower and helped lead a high-caliber Georgetown team to three National Championship regattas.
This article was originally published in the 2021–22 Convent & Stuart Hall Alumni Bulletin as part of a story featuring alumni who have gone on to achieve great athletic success in college and beyond.
As a member of the cross country and track and field teams at Convent High School eyeing her future at Georgetown, Morgan McGovern ’06’02 had hoped to compete in collegiate athletics. It didn’t take long after arriving on campus, though, for her to realize that earning a walk-on spot would be unattainable. And then, out of the blue, Morgan found a new sport. “Someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey! You look athletic! You should try rowing!’ and handed me a flyer,” she recalls.
As it turns out, Morgan was a natural in the water. “I took to rowing pretty quickly,” she says, “and loved the comradery that being on a team brought to my college experience.” Defying the odds as a non-recruited student-athlete, Morgan quickly developed as a rower and helped lead a high-caliber Georgetown team to three National Championship regattas. As a senior, she was named an All-American. Yet Morgan’s collegiate success was just the start of her career in the sport.
After graduating, she spent the next four years training to represent the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro while working full time. Ultimately, Morgan would compete for team U.S.A. at the World Championships in Rotterdam. She then moved to Kenya to work in sustainable forestry. Still, Morgan was not finished with rowing. When she relocated to London to attend business school at the University of Oxford, she hopped back in the boat to compete in the historic Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race down the River Thames.
The biggest impact the sport had on Morgan, however, did not come in a big race or in the form of an award. “It’s the friends you make along the way,” she says, adding: “One of the things I learned at Convent — both in sports and in the classroom — is that you can accomplish great things if you hold yourself accountable and put in the work.”
Now fully retired from rowing and working as a sustainability consultant in New York City, Morgan has started running again. She raced in the Philadelphia Marathon in late November and is focused on training for the Boston Marathon this spring.