Andover Crew hosted preseason training with 40 athletes over spring break at the Andover Boathouse along the Merrimack River. Hosting athletes with a variety of experience and skill levels, the training provided athletes the opportunity to grow comfortable on the water and familiarize themselves with the upcoming season.
Co-captain Aleisha Roberts ’22 appreciated the diversity in experience levels amongst team members. She added that the team made important improvements in a short period of time, setting the season off to a good start.
Roberts said, “I think it went really, really well. We had a good mix of pretty novice rowers, plus some experienced people. We had around five boats going out every day… I think it was really important to get good team culture started with a small group first, so that it was easier to transfer that to the larger team. And then in terms of just endurance training and strength training, I think we managed to make a lot of progress in a short [span of time] and improvement in technique was huge for a lot of rowers, especially the novices.”
New Andover crew member George Stoody ’24 found the proximity of the trip to campus to be an advantage. He believed the team was able to get used to the routine of the season. To him, being familiarized with the equipment and setup allowed for easier transitions and more time on water.
“We were able to come back near campus early, and just work in our boathouse. And while some teams went across the country for trips, I think that it was beneficial to come here, because we were able to see our home arena and our home river and really get familiarized with our facilities, which will definitely help us once our season starts. And we have to be quick in setting up because it’s pretty tough to get the boats on water and set up all the practices and equipment. So this was definitely helpful that we already came in and are familiar with the space,” said Stoody.
Wynant Hubbard ’23 highlighted the team’s goals for the season. Hubbard expressed the team’s goals for New England Interscholastic Rowing Association championship (NEIRA) this season.
“[Previously] we weren’t quite sure of our races. We had few last minute scrimmages against other teams, where nothing was planned and was done last minute. This year, though, we have NEIRA’s, which is like the New England Interscholastic League Rowing [Association] Championships, so we have that as our goal. This year we have more regular races every weekend [and] we have more structure. Our expectations have shifted because now we have more of a clear goal. Whereas last year we didn’t really have something we were really working towards,” said Hubbard.
While crew can be a very physically demanding sport, a big part of it is also mental, according to Stoody. He pointed out Head Coach Dale Hurley’s beliefs on the mentality rowers should go in with, which consists of making sacrifices for the better of the team, for yourself, and for those who depend on you.
Stoody said, “Something that Coach Hurley has talked a lot about is like a team first mentality. Whenever you’re in that really hard race or whatever, and you want to give up, you have to be thinking, ‘Okay, I’m doing it for the other people in this boat, I’m doing it for my teammates. I might feel tired right now, but I know that everyone who goes into the boat is going in, because they value the team and want to forward the whole team.’ So it’s kind of just a team first, over personal pain sacrifice mentality that we’ll have for the season. So it’s just sacrificing for your teammates, and putting the good of the group over your personal pain, and just doing it for the friends.”
The Andover Crew spring trip allowed new and returning rowers to get a glimpse of the season and provided time to prepare.