Back in the Water: Rowing team ready for another successful season
Nathan Perlmutter, sports writer
April 23, 2012
Filed under Sports
Rowing has enticed many Ladue students to see what it is all about.
The Saint Louis Rowing Club presents their case to many freshmen during their P.E. classes. Although many people do not join, those who do, stay and enjoy their experience. The SLRC is not a Ladue sport, but it has become well known around the school.
Junior Jeff Perkins has been rowing since his freshman year to supplement his cross country running in the fall. Perkins took such a liking to the sport that he decided to row all year long. Andrew Black and Tim Frank are the head varsity coaches for the boys and girls respectively. They are in charge of recruiting these students. They also help out when they are in the water during practices.
“They decide the workouts, and when you are on the water, they help you improve your form,” Perkins said. “While they help with strength, they work with form more because your boat won’t do well if you have bad technique.”
The rowing team consists of novice, junior varsity, and varsity rowers. Since it is a club sport anyone can join, but players will start on the novice team. The novice team practices separately from the JV and varsity. The JV and varsity compete against each other to see who races in the competition.
Rowers practice to compete in races, called regattas. Junior Isabella Benduski has been on the rowing team and enjoys the competition that the regattas present.
“At a regatta the day is organized around events, which are divided by boat type and level of rowing,” Benduski said. “The varsity eights would row, then novice eights, then varsity fours and novice fours and so on. And scoring is as simple as the winning boats of each race in the heats move on to finals where we race to medal.”
This tournament set up makes each race matter as a loss means elimination for the day. These regattas are also a lot of fun for the rowers because they get to spend quality time together while they wait to race.
“For me regattas are a real bonding experience,” Perkins said. “We usually take a long bus ride to where we have to go, then we stay in a hotel with our teammates. When we finally get to the race we are all together. Throughout the whole experience you get to interact with everyone.”
Regattas tend to take up a rower’s weekend. With multiple races a day, the tournaments can be quite confusing to follow. There are six different events, and a single racer can partake in more than one. These events include, eights, fours, sculling, pairs, doubles and singles. Eights consist of a team of eight rowers in a boat, each using one oar. Fours are similar to the eight man races, except there are only four people. In sculling, there are fours rowers, but each rower has two oars. In pairs, there are two rowers, however, each only uses one oar. In doubles and singles each rower is allowed two oars. With all of these different events many rowers race multiple times a day, which can take a toll mentally and physically on a rower.
“We may have one to two races a day, which can be tough if they are very close to each other,” junior BJ Francis said. Everyone can handle it though because in our practices sometimes we race three or four times without rest. Having two races in a row doesn’t affect the rowers as much as you would think.”
Rowing takes a lot of dedication from those who enjoy it. Practices are not only frequent, but long and grueling.
“Rowing has consumed my life. It’s completely different from other sports. It’s both an individual and team sport. You push yourself as hard as you can to be the best while working with your team to win races. It’s physically and mentally hard, but it is also extremely addicting and fun,” Benduski said.
The SLRC produces some great rowers that have the chance to compete at not only the national level but also at the international level. Francis competed in Germany over the summer in the world competition of rowing.
“The coach from worlds came to my practice to see if we had anyone that could be on the team,” Francis said. “He thought I had good power and form so I went to an Identification Camp to see if I could compete with the others. Once I got selected to be on the worlds team, I went to a Development Camp where they trained me specifically for worlds.”
While rowing may not be for everyone, the SLRC is a great place for students that may not be into other sports, to find their niche and make some new friends.