Rowing Expands Offerings

The Fall Rowing Team is in the process of expanding and is quickly becoming one of the most popular teams, with students participating from all grades.
Last year, with the help of an anonymous donor, the school was able to obtain funds needed to purchase boats and hire a coach. Numerous students joined the Rowing team in the spring of 2019. For many, this would be their first time rowing. During its first season, the team focused on learning the basics of technique and did not compete.
This year, students can join Co-ed Instructional (Club) Rowing in the fall and/or Varsity Rowing in the spring. Coach Victoria McGee says, “The club program [in the fall] is looking similar to the Spring program in the sense that the team is still beginning, so there is a lot of ‘intro to rowing.’ Ultimately, the club is just an extension [of] the [Varsity] program. Although, since it is in the club format, the workouts are a little bit lighter.”
Last spring, the team spent most practices using ergs (indoor rowing machine) and only practiced on Lake Washinee occasionally. This year, the team is excited to practice on Lake Wononskopomuc more frequently.
Using the ergs and rowing on water are both important for developing rowers. According to Assistant Rowing Coach Jeff Blevins, “Rowing on water is a lot different. The rowing machine can teach basic posture and rhythm, and it’s good for a workout, but we always say, ‘Ergs don’t float.’ The big difference is that the boat is tippy, and every little movement you make, even bobbing your head, can make it move. You have to be a lot more precise with your body out on the water. Also, you’re rowing together on the water, which is the real challenge and joy of crew.”
Last year, the Varsity team consisted of about 40 rowers, but this year, it has expanded, with 70 students already signed up for the spring season. Coach Blevins said, “[The] new rowers are great, and the ones returning from the spring have been great about including and helping them along. The team is feeling very cohesive right now.”
This will be the Varsity team’s first year entering competitions. Prospective spring rower Jeffrey Lim ‘21 said,“I am excited to become a more experienced rower by partaking in more races and competitions.”
He feels that the team will be able to compete at the same level as more experienced teams because it of its enthusiasm. Coach McGee agrees, saying, “[The team] will be extremely competitive. We have a lot of super-athletic kids who are driven and want to do well.”
Coach McGee wants more people around campus to get involved, whether it be by joining the team and competing or by providing support. She says she “wants to see everyone improving on the ergs and the water.”
The future seems bright for the rowing team this year, as it expands and enters its first competitive season this spring.