Section: SportsMarch 17, 2017
Ever wanted a full-body workout before your class? Ever want to try a new sport? Then crew may be the team for you!
The Brandeis rowing team, a club sport, has a novice and varsity team to accommodate all skill levels. The novice program teaches first-time rowers the basics of the sport, while the varsity team consists of returning and experienced rowers. They focus on further developing skills and look to participate in competitions all over New England. There are men’s and women’s squads and practices are year-round.
This year, the teams participated in four different meets all in October. The first was at UMass Lowell, with the women’s varsity two team competing in the Textile River Regatta. They finished with a time of 32:19.365. At the second meet held in Worcester the women’s varsity four team competed in the Quinsigamond Snake Regatta, finishing with a time of 20:24.468 to place 14th out of a total of 17 teams.
The third meet of the year was the famous Head of Charles, held on the Charles River. The largest regatta in the world, teams travel internationally to compete in the Head of the Charles. Each year, 50 teams are selected from a lottery to compete.
Alitza Maarek ’19, the team’s treasurer, talked about the magnitude of the event. “It was frightening because there were boats everywhere,” she said. All the big-name schools also attended, including Harvard and Brown, Maarek also mentioned.
The final meet of the season was at the Lasell Boat House, where Brandeis practices.
Spring competitions see shorter races. The team wakes up before sunrise to begin practices, especially once they hit the water. In the winter, the team practices inside and on land, using rowing machines and doing team lifts throughout the week. In true crew fashion, the team begins practicing as early as 6:30 a.m.
In the fall and spring, when the team shifts to on-water practices, the group of rowers wake up even earlier, meeting at Gosman to travel to the Lasell Boat House at 5:30 a.m. They spend about an hour and a half on the water before returning to Brandeis to begin their class days.
The schedule of practices offers the rowers a uniquely beautiful view of the sunrise while on the water, Maarek said. “It’s so cool seeing the sunrises every day,” she said.
The team took a training trip to South Carolina over February break. Maarek and the team hired two coaches and took a five-day trip. Four out of those five days were spent driving the dedicated team, while the team spent the fifth day in South Carolina improving their form and speed for the races to come.
The number of people on the team currently fluctuates around 16 students, with a majority of them women. There are four different types of boats in which the rowers race, singles, pairs, four-persons, and eight-persons.
Maarek fills the role of the coxswain, the rower who sits at the end of the boat and yells commands to keep the rhythm and speed of the boat in check. “My favorite part of coxswaining is feeling the boat move, and feeling the power behind my teammates’ rows as the boat sweeps through the water,” Maarek said.
All the practices culminate in one final competition at the very end of the year. The competition, which takes place in Philadelphia, occurs after the end of the spring semester. The team will travel in a van to the city to compete against a variety of colleges from all over.