Pulling a 200-pound boat loaded with eight people across 1,500 meters in just four and a half minutes requires a mixture of endurance, power, mental tenacity, and trust. From March 18 to March 20, Andover Crew carried out its preseason training to help develop these skills to win a coveted championship at the end of the season.
The preseason weekend allowed rowers to train to their fullest, rather than having to focus on other commitments such as clubs or schoolwork.
Remus Sottile ’19 said, “Preseason allows us to work out more often and more effectively than we would be able to during the school year. Because of preseason, we can get two workouts a day that are both multiple hours long instead of having two-hour workouts everyday, which is all we can do during the school year. So, by having more time to work out, we end up being much more prepared for the season when it comes around.”
Similar to any other endurance sport, such as track or cycling, crew athletes often prepare for their competitive season with a period of high-volume training designed to develop the aerobic systems and enhance the rowers’ stamina.
Sofie Brown ’18 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “The toughest workout the team completed was a rotation of two erg workouts and a body circuits in about an hour and a half. The workout didn’t allow for much rest time which pushed the team to build a stronger cardio base.”
Rowers also did a number of bodyweight strength workouts in an effort to improve their power output on the water.
One of the most important aspects of the preseason is making the transition from erging to rowing on water again. Because the Merrimack freezes during the winter, it is impossible to train on water, so rowers must once again begin to use boats and oars.
Captain Liz Irvin ’17 said,“I think preseason did a good job of blending both together, because we were both indoors and on the water, and other than that, I think just putting people in a boat and pushing them off does a lot to get people used to going outside again.”
In addition to building their physical fitness, rowers focused on their technique and form.
“The preseason was a time where we were able to spend a lot of time talking about the stroke… where we don’t have time during the actual season to work on things like that,” said Nate Cruz Walma ’18.
Another major element of a crew competition is being able to trust one’s teammates. Because all eight rowers must give their absolute maximum in order to win a competition, camaraderie and team bonding is very important. The preseason training helps rowers develop that team spirit.
“Throughout the season, you’re going to be with your boat a lot, and with that brings a lot of bonding, and eating meals together, like we did at the hotel, like breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we were all together,” said coxswain Logan McLennan ’19.
Elaine Irvin ’19 continued, “On the last day, on Monday morning, we had to do a six-minute piece, and just see how hard you can go for those six minutes. Every single time any group would go, everyone else would crowd around all the rowers that were going on the machines and just cheer them on. It got so loud, some of us were down by the water, and you could still hear everyone cheering up by the boathouse.”
Thanks to a successful preseason, Andover Crew is optimistic for its competitive season, according to its rowers.
Cruz Walma remarked, “We’re just trying to do as best as we can. I know I was on B2 last year, and we finished fourth at NEIRAs by 0.082 seconds. So it was a photo finish, and everyone who was on that boat is back and just wants to do as best as we can to come back and win NEIRAs. That’s the ultimate goal, just trying to have a great season.”
Andover Crew will compete in its first race on Saturday, April 8, at home against the Salisbury School.