Rowing club is a dedicated team and welcoming to all
HANGING WITH THE CREW: The Brandeis crew team competed in costume at their annual Halloween Regatta on Oct. 26.
The Brandeis Rowing Team was established in 1986 and is based out of Stoller Boathouse in Newton, MA. The team shares the boathouse with Lasell College and Community Rowing Inc. This year’s captains are Viking Mayor ’20 and Ethan Miller ’22, and the coaches are team member Alex Gavriel and former Justice Editor in Chief Abby Patkin ’18. The team is committed to upholding the academic integrity of Brandeis while striving to achieve success in the competitive world of collegiate rowing. The Brandeis team competes as a co-ed organization in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Club Sports.
The team welcomes all students, faculty and staff who attend or work for Brandeis, and no prior experience is required to become a part of the rowing family. Many of the members are novices — new to the sport of rowing — but others come to the club with more advanced skills. Regardless of the member’s skill level, the captains and coaches are happy to teach anyone who joins to row. Everyone starts out on the novice team, but moves up to varsity after two years (or when their skills are at the varsity level).
The difference between the rowing team and most other Brandeis club sports is that the rowing team practices five days a week in the fall and spring before the sun rises from 5-7 a.m. In the winter, they only practice three days a week in the mornings, and the team has workouts on the off days.
This year’s team has 25 active members, and everyone has the opportunity to compete in races. Not everyone will compete in every race though, because if they do not have enough people to fill a whole boat (four rowers and a coxswain) they cannot send a boat out.
A good amount of commitment is expected from the athletes. As with any sport, practice is key, and it is hard to practice in full boats if people are missing practices. However, the coaches and captains are happy to help anyone who is having issues with time. According to Anna Cowett ’21, a member of the team, “The coaches and captains are a great resource for help with sorting out time management and other ways to fit both rowing and school into already busy lives. They were both student-athletes as well so they know the process first hand.”
All rowers must pass a swim test before the beginning of the season, even if they passed the previous year. The swim test is administered by a certified lifeguard and organized by the board members or safety officer. Members must swim two lengths and tread water for eight minutes, and then put on a personal flotation device that is tossed to them while in the water. The purpose of the swim test is for members to demonstrate that they can save themselves in the event that they end up in the water. An athlete who is unable to successfully pass the swim test must wear a personal floatation device when rowing.
Fundraising is important for all club members — it helps offset the cost and dues of the club. Therefore, members are required to complete at least two fundraisers each semester. Some fundraisers that they participate in are selling concessions for Brandeis events as well as Rent-A-Rowers. Rent-A-Rowers are opportunities for members of the local community and Brandeis students to pay members of the rowing team for various tasks, usually moving students into and out of dorms at the beginning and end of the school year, respectively, or in some cases shoveling or raking leaves. The team has strict guidelines for which jobs Rent-A-Rowers will and will not get approved to do, in the interest of maintaining the safety of the team members.
Rowing is the ultimate team sport and that is one reason that the club has so many bonding events. They have breakfast every morning after practice and team movie nights and members participate in fun activities such as tie-dying or slime making. The captains spend a lot of time making sure the team gets to know and has fun with one another.
During the fall season, they competed in several regattas. The first regatta was the Textile River Regatta on Oct. 7, another was the varsity women’s boat on the Head of the Charles on Oct. 20, and Brandeis hosted the Halloween Regatta at the Stoller Boathouse. Various Brandeis boats have medalled in races this season and the team is hoping to continue their winning ways during the spring season. Presently, the club only competes locally and does not compete in regionals or nationals.
—Editor's Note: Luke Liu is a member of the rowing team, an editor of the Justice and did not edit or contribute to this article.