The men’s crew faced its toughest challenge of the season before it competed in its initial regular-season regattas against Hobart College on Saturday on Cayuga Inlet.
For this year’s rowers, the most important part of the season came during spring break when they could get in shape and improve their technique on the water. The crew trained in Gainesville, Ga., this season during spring break, spending five to six hours on the water in warmer weather conditions each day.
Senior captain Zach Doell said the training trip made the crew better because it brought the freshmen and seniors together.
“This is the best team unity we have had over the past couple years,” Doell said. “We were able to tell the freshmen stories of when we were freshmen.”
While the Blue and Gold were spending the break in Georgia, they practiced for a total of about 28 hours, which Head Coach Dan Robinson said adds up to about three weeks of practice in Ithaca. Robinson said the time the team spent in Georgia was priceless.
“Without it, I don’t know where we’d be,” he said. “The guys would not know how to row.”
Through the long hours on the water and the team picnic, the rowers solidified relationships with other competitors in their boats.
The South Hill squad also took part in scrimmage regattas against the crews from Marietta College and the United States Naval Academy.
These regattas helped the South Hill squad prepare for an seasoned Hobart crew that won the last two contests between the teams. Robinson said 90 percent of Hobart’s rowers have high school experience with crew, forcing the Bombers to feel the need to compensate for their losses.
“We do have to prove ourselves every time, no question about it,” he said. “Hobart has beaten us the past two years.”
The Bombers’ hard work during spring break paid off, as they defeated the Statesmen in the first varsity regatta with a time of 6:15.3. The second varsity 8 lost to Hobart by more than two seconds, however, registering a time of 6:37.3.
Senior captain Per Tvetenstrand said the entire crew gained confidence from the regatta despite the second boat’s tough losses.
“We are usually never that close to Hobart,” Tvetenstrand said. “We are definitely going to be able to beat them at states — it was actually a really great race for us.”
The Blue and Gold continued to scrimmage against top schools when they faced Cornell University on Saturday after its morning regattas against Hobart.
The Bombers have a rough home schedule to begin the season,
facing the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday. They also have regattas against Trinity College and Williams College later this month. Unlike the Bombers, Trinity and Williams recruit rowers from local high schools to compete in their crew programs.
Doell said the Blue and Gold’s pride after the Cayuga Duals stemmed from earlier regattas against top competition, and the crew now feels it can compete with any school.
“There aren’t any boats this year we are not going to race hard against and have a chance of beating,” he said. “We all should be very strong this year.”
Note: The crew trained in Gainesville, Ga., during its spring break trip, not Marietta, Ga., as the story originally stated.