Spotlight on Varsity Crew

“7!” a voice shouts from the front of the boat. “8!” cold water splashes onto the legs and shoulders of the boat’s four rowers, pushing their boat forward with every pass through the water. “Keep going, 9!” after 7 minutes of rowing, the boat is within feet of an invisible finish line, and the exhausted squad is breathing heavily. As an airhorn screams through the air, signaling the end of the rowers’ torment, the coxswain shouts “And 10, hold water” as their oars sink into the water to stop their boat’s momentum dead in the water. Hopes were fulfilled, it was, in fact, the best case scenario: they finished first. The Men’s Lightweight boat, consisting of 4 rowers weighing under 160 lbs, ended in 3rd place overall for that particular meet. On another note, the Girl’s Novice boat earned second, finishing in 5th place overall. These results were not some fluke, or just by sheer luck. With numerous hours of conditioning and hard work, our crew team has managed to claim their rightful places on the leaderboards.

Before all of the boat balancing comes into play and the fancy lingo gets thrown around, every season starts with ambitious rookies and rusty veterans. Rowing is unlike any sport: it’s a full body workout, rowers must maintain consistent power as to not knock the boat off balance, and synchronization is mandatory, not to mention your teammates are sitting in front or behind you, depending on where you’re placed, and you’re on the water to top it off. Combining all of this with the end of winter and entrance of spring, that sluggish stroll known as March, and the splashes of cold water on your legs will immerse you into your own version of Deadliest Catch. Coach Fluharty, who has been a member of the Crew team since the dinosaur ages, explained that the season’s start is “Always tough, nothing changes,” going on to talk about how the veterans have to shake off the rust and the new rowers have to learn what to do. Depending on how many new rowers, how quickly the veteran rowers re-adjust, or how rapidly the rookies adapt are all major contributors as to how Mr. Fluharty and his fellow coaches treat their team, stating that it’s never the same and “[they] just gotta handle it differently, adjust” to form a team dynamic.

Once the rust is shaken off and the newbies are broken in, boating and rowing take priority. Earlier in the year, of course, the waters are cold and the weather is worse. It’s quite symbolic of the team having to get used to the hard work and time each rower must commit to make the season a successful one. As time progresses, the rowers become more well adjusted and accustomed to their jobs, and the weather/water temperature becomes significantly more bearable. Senior Malia MacLeod stated that practice is actually “really enjoyable and I genuinely like being out in the sun.” This shift in mood aids in bringing about the team’s true spirit, but unfortunately, the season’s end floats ever closer.

After months of hard work and infrequent Regattas, the “boat races,” the season reaches its climax, as it is with most sports seasons: the TCIS championship. Hours of racing, rowing, and recovering, all packed into one morning. Finishing with 2 silver medals in the Men’s Lightweight and Women’s Varsity boats, including a second place finish with the Men’s Novice boat, the team earned an Efficiency award for the highest scoring average for all races entered. Sophomore Thomas Couch stated that “results are results” and they were able to come out with their success due to them “put[ting] in a lot of effort.” With this final regatta, the 2019 season concluded, but the team failed to remain dormant for long. Talks of a Fall season and even summer conditioning echoed through the minds of each individual player, although some had more commitments than just crew. The seniors were sent off with one last hoorah, but the experience they gained from such a commitment shall remain with them through their years.