Crew team works to develop skills during offseason



Junior Matteo Sanchez-Dahl ergs with the support of senior Robert Bitzier and junior IK Agba. Sophmore Anay Saraf said crew athletes have no off-season.

Priya Karumanchi, Staff Writer

Two hours of practice before school, hours of practice after school and practice on weekdays and weekends. This is the life of a student who is part of the crew team at the high school. Furthermore, the team practices every single season of the year.

The crew teams’ main season happens during the spring, but the team is expected to practice all year round during their off-season as well in the fall, winter and summer, which require the same amount of vigor as the regular spring season.

According to Anay Saraf, a sophomore on the team, there is no difference between the off-season and regular season.

“There is no such thing as off-season!” Saraf said. “Off-season means you don’t do the sport, but we have crew every season.”

The crew team rows during the fall, spring and summer season. Winter season is spent indoors, practicing on the rowing machines and lifting weights.

According to Saraf, crew is especially hard in the winter because of how exhausting practice can be. Erging is the exercise they do to train, and it is very taxing mentally and physically.

“We have crew every single day,” Saraf said. “We do a lot of rowing during winter training. We then have to lift, run stairs, go on runs and bike.”

According to sophomore Claire Guillemin, winter training is much different than any other season because the team is not on the water.

“Off-season can be hard because we’re in the basement for two to three hours everyday,” Guillemin said. “We go right to the basement to erg in the erg room from late November through the middle of March.”

Saraf feels that the winter season is the most intense, although the team does not practice on the water.

“We do longer things and focus on harder pieces. Off-season for us is meeting in the basement, but that doesn’t make it any easier,” Saraf said.

According to Guillemin, because crew is year round and time consuming, many of the team members are not able to do any other after school commitments.

“Very few of the crew members will do something out of school besides crew,” said Guillemin. “A few of them will hang out with friends, but not really. On the weekdays mostly they don’t have time. The guys’ practice goes from right after school til about 5:40 or 6 p.m. and the girls goes from 5 to 7:30 p.m.”

However, some members of the crew team participate in other activities besides crew team, but that means taking a season off of crew.

“I don’t do crew all seasons because I do soccer,” Saraf said. “It is just like any other sport; you just manage to do things. A bunch of kids don’t do a season or two mostly because people do other sports too.”

However, when people start crew, it is not as demanding with so many practices. Many freshmen are new to the sport and start off as novices. During winter training, novices only have to practice two times a week.  

According to sophomore Claire Guzman, the crew team has been able to improve due to the recent team trips.

To improve for the upcoming spring season, the team took a trip down to Austin, Texas during February Break from Feb. 16 to Feb. 25.

“All 60 of us flew down to Austin for the training trip, and we rowed twice a day, which helped our rowing skills,” Guzman said. “We also ate in the University of Texas dining hall, which helped the team bond together.”

Guzman also noted that as a result of the training trip in Texas, the crew team was able to get a lot better. The trip allows the team to practice on water and polish their skills. The trip allows the team to begin to race right when the spring season begins.

Guzman believes that although the seasons may be challenging, they are still fun because it is great to be around the team members.

According to Guillemin, the crew team members spend a lot of time practicing and everyone is willing to work hard.

“I have been on teams before where people don’t really want to work hard,” Guillemin said. “But in crew a lot of the kids there feel a very powerful need to do well, and I feel that kind of inspires all of the rowers, which is really nice because all of the rowers want to work really hard.”