Crew is commonly associated with the word cult, a relatively small group of people having practices regarded by others as strange or sinister. Because of the rigorous and demanding crew schedule, rowers at the high school spend a lot of time together and have created strong bonds.
Yet, according to sophomore Avery Kelly, crew is also a safe place where everyone and anyone is accepted.
Crew meets six days a week for two hours every day, but it is much more than a big time commitment. The crew team has built up a strong bond.
According to Kelly, winter crew is not just physically challenging, but has several mental obstacles that rowers have to overcome.
“I think crew is definitely really mentally challenging. I come into practice and no matter how hard my day is, I come in and I work my butt off,” Kelly said.
According to captain and senior Sophie Herscovici, the intensity of the workouts greatly ranges depending on the day.
“We usually divide up our practice through the week. One day we’ll do 70 minutes of cardio and some core. One day we’ll do a kind of a harder workout and we’ll have two days when we do weights and we have two different weight circuits. And then one day we’ll do short intense pieces,” Herscovici said.
Captain and senior Karun Mahadevan said that the purpose of having a variety of different workouts is to target different muscle groups.
“Practice consists of probably an hour, an hour and a half of erging, 30 to 45 minutes of lifting or doing core and then running or doing stairs or yoga,” Mahadevan said.
Coach Andrew McLaughlin, who started coaching all three seasons of crew at the high school three years ago, said that winter crew is the hardest season.
“It’s cold, it’s dark and we’re down here in a windowless room so it can definitely be hard to keep motivation once it feels like the direct impact is so far away,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin added that people do winter crew to spend time with their teammates.
“They enjoy working together and that they can feel, come springtime, that the work that they are putting in now that’s what’s helping them to have success once we’re down there rowing,” McLaughlin said.
Sophomore Emma Wallace said that crew has a very supportive team environment and attributed it to the intense winter workout routine.
“If you’re in pain, you know everyone around you is supporting you and feeling the same thing that you do. I think that without this team environment, I wouldn’t be part of the sport,” Wallace said.
According to McLaughlin the workouts the team does are much more effective when they do them together because of the encouraging team environment.
“When you’re helping your teammate lift or when you’re on a rowing machine right next to them you’re getting that support. There have been a lot of studies showing that working out together allows you to push harder for longer because you have that team atmosphere; it’s a very different environment,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said that the reason crew is considered a cult, not just in the high school but also other high schools, is because of the strong bonds within the team.
“It forms a really strong connection which, for the people who are not part of it, is hard to understand,” McLaughlin said.
According to junior Chloe Janes, one of the most important parts of crew team is the team atmosphere.
“Teamwork is the most important aspect of crew because once we get to the spring and once you’re in the boat with the seven other rowers in the coxswain, you have to be able to trust each other and be able to row in sync and match up at every single part of the stroke,” Janes said “Training together and building the trust as a team is important to that aspect of rowing.”