NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The men's rowing team is now back in season after three months of short days and long workouts. The monotony of hours spent "erging," or rowing on a machine called the ergometer, was punctuated by running and endurance weights. Team fitness was gauged by a rowing specific triathlon, a 15' erg fundraising Workout for spring break called Ergathon, and a preliminary 2000 meter test.
Half the squad stayed on Campus for the 2km test. The other half completed the distance while competing in the World Indoor Rowing Championships. The Championship (called the CRASH-B's) was held in Boston University's Agganis Arena on February 22nd.
Sophomore Dan Kenefick '11 claimed 2nd place in the Under-23 Lightweights category, a supreme achievement in the rowing world and an honor for the College's program. When asked about National Team prospects for the summer, he was "hopeful for the opportunity."
Coach Ben Lewis was encouraged by the results of the team's winter training thus far, "everyone has set a personal best on either the 15' test or the 2k while there has only been some sickness and injury." The squad largely remains the same from the fall; some athletes have left while others have joined.
Winter training culminated with the sports toughest event--the 2000 meter ergometer test. During the "Mad Cows" the rowers row two of these distances separated by a single hour. This 6-7 minute test is analogous to a spring race and measures maximum speed and fitness. Faster is always better.
The crew then headed to warm Myrtle Beach, SC for Spring Training. Each year, the team must shoulder a larger financial burden for the essential trip. This year it amounts to over $800 per rower for a total of $61,000. The crew' record fundraising year cut substantially into this cost.
Spring break consisted of multiple practices per day addressing both technique and conditioning. The crew took advantage of long stretches of open water along the Intracoastal Waterway. Proper boat mileage is essential for a successful spring season.
The athletes plan to just "Eat, Sleep, and Row" for the duration of the trip. "We put in a lot of hard work over the winter and we'll see where it takes us," remarks Co-captain Andy Ward '09. Boat placement will also take place over the two weeks on the water.
Following Spring Training, the team will have a scrimmage with Harvard, a Division I rowing school. From then on, "each week will be more important than the one before," according to Coach Ben Lewis, "we are only as good as our last result." The disappointing showing at the Head of the Fish Regatta following successful victory at the Head of the Charles in Boston, Lewis and the Crew are eager for redemption.
After numerous smaller races with only a few schools, the season will culminate with the New England Championships and the ECAC Championship regatta in early May. The freshman squad has an identical competition schedule. Novices are quite strong this year. Able recruits and very promising walk-ons ensure great racing under the leadership of Coach Colin Regan.
Both squads are most eager to spar with Trinity's crew. Trinity, under Coach Larry Gluckman, has traditionally been Williams' chief rival in both fall and spring seasons. The first varsity boat barely defeated Trinity's crew at the Head of the Charles in Boston. The crews were separated by just over a second over 5000 meters. The spring, with its 2000 meter races, promises to bring even smaller spreads and even more exciting races.