Six months remain until Andover Boys Crew kicks off its season in the spring, but Ross Burnaman ’13 has already taken to the water in competition.
The post-graduate from Wilton, Conn., has represented the team well by placing first and fourth in two non-school-affiliated rowing events this term.
For his first race of the year, Burnaman took to the water in the Textile River Regatta in Lowell on September 30.
Competing against a field primarily comprised of older rowers, he placed fourth out of five in the Men’s Open Single competition.
“I was pretty happy, because the three guys who beat me were between the ages of 25 and 30,” said Burnaman.
He also rowed in the Men’s Open Single Division in the New England High School Championship Regatta last Friday in Worcester.
Burnaman wiped the competition away and came in first out of 10 competitors.
“[I] was much more confident in this race because [I] was competing against kids in [my] age group,” said Burnaman.
Despite his early success, Burnaman feels that he will still be challenged by the other members of Andover Crew.
“[The program] has been very strong in years past and looks even stronger this year. Making it into Boat One is going to be very hard; there is a lot of competition,” he said.
Though Burnaman has only been rowing for four years, he has several strong results under his belt.
Over the summer he participated in the U.S. Rowing Club National Championship in New Jersey on behalf of the Maritime Rowing Club of Connecticut, one of the premier rowing clubs in the country.
Racing in both the quads and doubles competitions, he placed fifth and seventh, respectively.
Peter Washburn, Head Coach of Andover Boys Crew, noted that Burnaman will have to learn to sweep, or row with one oar, rather than scull, with two oars, in order to mesh well with the team.
“I’m trying to learn how to utilize sweeping style right now. Traditionally, I have used the sculling style,” said Burnaman.
Washburn said, “You have to butt into the program. There’s a reason that ‘Non Sibi,’ is inscribed on the back of the uniforms.”
Burnaman attributes much of his rowing success to his intense workout regimen.
On a typical training day, he rows 40 minutes up river and 40 minutes down river for a low cardio workout.
To raise his lactic acid tolerance, he usually rows 30 seconds at his highest possible pace and 30 seconds at a lower pace for six minute intervals. He generally repeats these exercises four times.
Burnaman also praised his coaching. “Coach Joe Bouscaren [Coach of Girls Crew] has been very, very helpful this year,” he said. “It has been great to be mentored on my sculling from such an experienced coach. Coach Washburn has also been great. He has a lot of experience sweeping, so hopefully he will help me improve.”
A battle with Lyme Disease prevented Burnaman from rowing for much of 2011 season, so he is excited and motivated to compete at a high level this season.
“When I got better, I was re-enthused and wanted to do what I love by rowing my heart out. Because [I was out for so much of last season], I have really come to appreciate this sport, even though it can be tough and tedious at times,” he said.
Burnaman sees himself rowing throughout his college career and says that he has gotten interest from coaches at several universities.