It was quite an interesting Sunday for Wesleyan Crew. Low temperatures and high winds caused the Merrimack River, the stage for the Textile River Regatta, to bubble and swirl treacherously, endangering many crews. Several boats in the competition took on water, rescue missions were made, and three competitors (non-Wesleyan folks) were hospitalized and treated for hypothermia. This madness canceled the afternoon races on both the men’s and women’s sides, meaning that only the first and second varsity boats (along with an additional men’s four) competed. Adding to the craziness of the day, at least one team bus filled with smoke on the ride home, forcing an emergency change somewhere on the highway between Lowell and Middletown.
On the women’s side, the 1v and 2v boats finished second and fourth in the “Women’s Club 8+” division of the regatta. Those results were good for the strongest finish of any collegiate team at the competition.
Despite a long and perilous trip, many members of the women’s squad raved about the team’s performance and made the ordeal sound more like an adventure than a nightmare.
“We are really excited with how the racing went this weekend,” wrote Remy Johnson ’16 in an email to The Argus. “Wesleyan was the fastest collegiate team at this regatta, so it was a great start to our fall season. Both the men and women’s team performed well.”
Emma Koramshahi ’16 echoed Johnson’s sentiments, elaborating on the day’s craziness.
“This weekend’s regatta was definitely exciting: boats swamped, races were cancelled, the dive team was called,” she wrote in an email. “It was a frenzy, but we got the opportunity to race boats that we won’t compete with later on in the season, allowing us to really take an inward focus and feel out what we are working with amongst our own crews.”
“What’s interesting about crew is that it’s not supposed to be a sport of real ‘stand out performers,’” Koramshahi continued. “What makes a talented oars(wo)man is the ability to blend and adapt their stroke with the rest of the crew while also applying efficient power. Remy Johnson is particularly adaptable and in the race this past weekend, she was able to apply her strength as the 1st varsity stroke, setting the pace to second place behind Boston club team CRI in the Women’s Open event.”
It was truly an impressive result for the 1v boat, and Koramshahi effused positivity about the future of this team.
“Fall rowing is always exciting,” she wrote. “It’s a time of quick improvement and team building without the high-stress pressure of spring racing. We’ve got a fabulous class of recruits bringing in some great new energy and talent, and we’re seeing a lot of potential in our novice class as well.”
One first year in particular has been making a splash this fall. Ricky Flowers ’19 has contributed in varsity races from her spot in the first boat.
Flowers stressed a team-first mentality in her comments about the weekend.
“I think all of our boats raced very consistently this weekend and stayed competitive in rough conditions,” wrote Flowers in an email. “No rower on this team got to where they are without being pushed by their teammates every day in practice. Because of this, it is never about just the varsity boat, but improvement as a whole team. We all strive to get progressively faster as a team and I think that sustaining the aggression and tenacity we’ve shown during practice will pay off monumentally in the spring.”
This resolve specifically informs how Flowers approaches her own rowing.
“My personal goals reflect that of the team, which is to help send as many boats to the NCAAs as possible and ultimately getting a national title in the spring of 2015,” she wrote. “I am looking forward to the rest of the season, and the rest of this year.”
The men’s team put together an equally dominant performance, placing first and fourth in the “Men’s Club 8+” bracket, which was also the fastest finish among collegiate competitors in that division. A Cardinal boat also finished fifth in the “Men’s Club 4+.”
Junior Colin Mattox filled The Argus in on the men’s season in an email.
“The season has been awesome so far,” he wrote. “It’s been warm and that’s huge because rowing in the cold at 6 am is horrible, and it hasn’t been that bad thus far. We have a super young team, and an outstanding class of freshman recruits. At the race today we had four freshmen in our top boat of eight guys, which is absolutely unprecedented.”
Mattox mirrored Flowers’ emphasis on the importance of team.
“Crew is an inherently team sport so there are never really standout performers, just standout boats,” he wrote. “So if I were to name a standout, it would be the whole freshman class. Those guys have totally revitalized our team with passion and speed.”
Mattox also shed light on the nearly ascetic lifestyle that crew requires.
“We practice every day except Sunday,” he wrote. “We have morning practices twice a week in the fall on Friday and Saturday and usually three times in the spring: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. During the week a morning practice starts at 6:15 and on weekends it starts around 7:00.”