“We’re hoping to get on the water next week,” Caroline Kaye ’18 said in an interview with the Justice. The Psychology major is the captain of the Brandeis Rowing Team. According to Kaye, the only thing stopping them may be the weather. “Fingers crossed, because it’s supposed to snow,” she laughed.

This snowy Massachusetts weather is certainly a stark contrast to the balmy climate of South Carolina. Over February break, nine of the fifteen team members traveled south for training. While the week served as a period of intense training resulting in aching muscles and blistered hands, it also proved a valuable team bonding experience. “I think it’s a lot of people’s favorite part of the year. The team gets a lot closer; we drive down to South Carolina and back. You spend the whole week together in kind of the middle of nowhere,” Kaye explained. 

The team was accompanied on the trip by two coaches. The Rowing Team is currently in between coaches, so this was a welcomed break from the status quo. “Over spring training — having a coach — I realized I missed having a coach so much. I was just like ‘This is so great,’” Kaye said. 

Alumni have come to help the team train, but mostly the rowers have been on their own. They’ve had to learn how to drive a launch (a small motor boat meant for the coach) and take turns watching each other row. “We’re trying to plan a meeting with the University president,” Kaye said. “So hopefully we’ll get more support and it’ll attract the coach. This is a sport that’s pretty hard to do without a coach, just because there’s a lot of technique to it, and that can lead to injury. And, for safety purposes, you need to have someone in a boat out there with people.”

During the winter, the team is “grounded” and trains indoors. However, during the early fall and spring, they utilize Lasell College’s boathouse, which is only a short drive away. Every weekend in April except for one, the team will be racing. It all leads to the Dad Vail Regatta, the biggest intercollegiate regatta in the country. 

“We mostly row in boats of four people. And those boats have a coxswain, which is like the person who is steering and shouting things and encouraging. There’s a lot of misconceptions that they’re just cheering, but they’re really important to steer the boat, too,” Kaye said. The team also competes with two person boats.

Coming back from training, Kaye reflected that “it took a lot out of us. We all took a day to recover.” Yet, the extra practice and team bonding made it all worth it. The last night there, the entire team jumped into the water, though Kaye wryly mentioned that some were pushed in. 

“It was like we were kids again,” she said.

—Editor’s Note: Abby Patkin is a member of the crew team and a Justice editor.