An overview of the current Lewis & Clark rowing season
By ABE FIELD
Blades in the water. Arms and legs tense in anticipation. With a sudden push of power, the boat jumps out to begin the race. The Pioneer crew has begun their training for the fall racing season, and the team has just gotten back into the swing of not only the boat, but the demanding rowing schedule as well.
This year, the rowing team is its largest size in the history of the program. This is in part due to the large freshmen class. This season, the men’s program will have 24 rowers, including varsity and novice, and the women’s team will have 28 members, 20 varsity and eight novice. These rowers will compete in races of up to 5,000 meters this season, and 2,000 meters in the spring.
I spoke to one of the new first-years, Maggie Coit ’19, a coxswain for the men’s team. During her first few days with the team, Coit felt welcomed by the returning rowers. “It is a great atmosphere in the boathouse, and with the rowers on and off the water,” Coit explains. As a coxswain, it is Maggie’s job to steer the boat, to execute the race plan, and to motivate her rowers for 20 minutes of pure pain. “I’m really the in-boat coach during the race,” Coit says with a laugh. Coit rowed for all of high school, so the challenges of being a cox- swain are not new to her at all. In fact, Coit will be the coxswain of the men’s varsity 8 in their first race this Saturday (Oct. 18).
The rowing schedule is incredibly demanding for students who choose to row. According to Charlotte Copp ’18, “[the team] spends over 18 hours a week practicing,” which can be quite a commitment. Rowers must learn to balance their academic lives, rowing lives, and social lives, but with so little free time, this is quite difficult.
This fall, the crew team has two races, also known as regattas. One of the regattas will be at American Lake, this Saturday, Oct. 18th. If students or faculty wish to see the crew races this season, they will have their opportunity to cheer on the Pioneers at the second regatta of the fall. That race is held on the follow- ing Saturday (Oct. 24) on the Willamette River. According to the team, the best spot to watch the race will be the Sellwood Riverfront Park. When asked about the future of his rowing program, Head Coach Sam Taylor said “based on the number of rowers and the talent we have, honestly, I’m excited.”