By Luke Belechak
After a revival in 1999, the club crew team has been continually growing in the hopes of becoming one of the top club teams in the nation.
While the team used to have upwards of 40 members, recent years have downsized the squad considerably.
The team is open to all Denison students regardless of experience. They recruit heavily at Denison’s involvement fairs, though senior Kyra Lammers recognizes a high number of recruiting simply happening through word of mouth.
“As a freshman I had never rowed before. I saw the club crew table at the involvement fair and the people who were there were incredibly enthusiastic.,” explained Lammers, “I think that’s how we get a lot of people. Usually we don’t have many experienced rowers, so you have to be very welcoming to potential teammates.”
The team is only graduating two seniors in the spring, thus this club sport could potentially see a high turnout when competition resumes in the fall.
In the spring and fall the team practices five days during the week, with indoor practices on Monday and Wednesday and outdoor practices Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Indoor practices are typically no more than an hour with the majority of time spent on the erg, a stationary rowing machine.
Outdoor practices on the water are much longer, with the weekend practice lasting roughly four hours.
The team utilizes a fleet of boats purchased by Denison over the past few years. Denison has funded two 8-seater boats, two four-seaters, two doubles which can be rigged for either sculling or sweeping, and one single, which is the team’s newest boat purchased last spring.
“Boats are very expensive,” Lammers added. “We are lucky Denison has allocated the money necessary to get new equipment.”
Though the team is small, they fare very well in competitions. They typically row against club teams from Ohio University, Wittenberg, Otterbein, Ohio State and Kenyon, as well as schools from West Virginia and Indiana. Each regatta normally draws in between 15 and 20 schools.
Last fall, the women’s boats were consistently finishing in either first or second. “We generally do very well,” Lammers explained. “For a club of our size, it’s a huge accomplishment to be getting first and second place finishes.”
“A lot of people, especially from the midwest, are unfamiliar with crew because it’s not a very big sport out here.” While the team is always willing to accept new members, this does not at all mean the sport is easy by any means.
Rowers are often known to be in pain, both on and off the water. “Rowing is terrible for your hands,” Lammers noted. “Even if you row correctly you will be in pain. It is incredibly taxing on your whole body. We have had varsity athletes come and train with us during the offseason and some can’t complete the workouts we do.” The sport requires pulling with both your arms and legs, with a continual emphasis on working the abdominal muscles.
The team’s work ethic and determination reflects their recent ability to compete with top tier club teams. While Lammers recognized that the team is in good shape, there is always room for improvement. “We are happy with where we stand,” she explained. “But we know that if we want to get better as a team, we need more dedicated members.”