Williamstown, MA -- The Williams College men's crew team is back on the water and ready to get down to business this spring racing season. The Ephs spent a long winter indoors honing technique in the rowing tanks and building fitness on the ergs, culminating in the annual "Mad Cows" workout, where the Ephs pulled three 2000-meter test pieces in under twenty-four hours. After many hours inside Lasell gym preparing for spring, the Ephs are itching to get back in their shells and put their efforts into work moving boats.
The Ephs will be guided by first year head coach Marc Mandel and new assistant coach Graham Marks. Marks joins the Ephs after the departure of assistant coach Nate Clark following the fall season.
The Ephs have a small but strong core of upperclassmen leaders this spring. Senior captain Karl Bocker is joined by classmates Sam Ellison, Wyatt Millstone, and coxswain Devin Flynn. The senior class will be supported by juniors Drew West, Sam Armstrong, Atzin Villarreal-Sosa, and Adam Zoen.
The Ephs have just returned from their annual trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There they train out of the Briarcliffe RV resort on the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW), an inland canal built during WWII to protect United States shipping. The Ephs took advantage of the freedom from schoolwork offered by spring break to fit nearly a month worth of rowing into two weeks.
Each morning the Ephs rose well before the sunrise to row hard pieces, often racing each other. Each afternoon they rowed a more technically oriented session, where they focused on drilling and longer steady state pieces. As in the fall, technical mastery was once again a huge focus of coach Mandel's practices.
The rowing sessions of spring break offered the Ephs a great chance to translate their winter training onto the water and to further develop their rowing. This was especially true of the Ephs' novices, who have already spent more time rowing on the water this spring than they did all fall. Coach Mandel was quite pleased with how the Ephs performed during their time in South Carolina: "The entire team made tremendous strides both technically and physiologically during the winter and early spring. This work was readily apparent during our two-week training trip to Myrtle Beach, where all of our athletes showed significant improvement."
To succeed this spring, coach Mandel is taking a long term approach of continual improvement emphasizing further technical refinement and fitness development. He feels that the team's "long-term success will hinge on each of our crews' ability to continue improving throughout the season, translating our technical points of emphasis to race pace and simply continuing to get fitter."
Success and rowing excellence from the top to the bottom of the program will also be a top priority of the program this season.The Ephs have a deep roster capable of fielding strong boats in each event. Coach Mandel has emphasized that upwards pressure from the lower boats will be crucial to the program's success as a whole.
The Ephs have a packed schedule this spring featuring races each weekend leading up to the New England Rowing Championships on May 5th and the NIRC on May 11th. Coach Mandel is excited to watch how the crews develop as they gain racing experience over the course of the season: "Each weekend has us facing off against quality competition, and I am looking forward to watching our crews develop throughout the season as we gain racing experience."
The Ephs will start their season Saturday April 7th on the Malden River in eastern Massachusetts with races against Tufts and Coast Guard.