Texas rowing trip allows teammates to come together on and off the water


Contributed by Dustin Grace

The boys and girls crew team goes to Texas every year during February break to start practicing on the water for the spring season. The trip allows for the rowers to get to know one another on a deeper level.

Contributed by Naomi Weisner
The Texas trip allowed the girls crew team to not only get better on the water, but to also form new relationships due to the amount of time spent together.

Austin, Texas: a nice image to the typical Bostonian in the bracing month of February. Austin not only provides a respite from the cold winter for rowers, it also allows the crew team to create stronger relationships.

Because of Brookline’s climate, the crew team spends the majority of the winter season indoors, training intensely on ergs, which help their stamina and speed. Although erging is beneficial for building up strength, it lacks the interactive experience teams have on the water.

From Feb. 15 to Feb. 22, the boys and girls crew team went on a series of races against other high school groups all around the country. Both teams were content with their results, with the Boys first eight man varsity boat winning 3 out of the 6 races they did on the first day.

Eddy Mog, who coaches the girls varsity crew team, said how the trip to Austin allows the team to form new connections and bonds with their teammates.

“Every year, everyone leaves the trip getting to know someone better than they ever had. It can even be someone in the same grade as them, but that connection everyone forms with each other is deeper than just rowing boats together,” Mog said. “It is really personal for each individual.”

Mog also said the trip improves the team’s performance on the water and it prepares them for the important spring season. He explained how the experience on the crew team can sometimes be monotonous during the winter season.

“You have four walls, you are in the basement of the high school, rowing on the erg is insanely repetitive and it is such a nice break to be in warm weather, rowing on the water,” Mog said. “After the trip, we still get back on the ergs because the Charles River is still too cold to row on, but the athletes feel so rejuvenated.”

The structure of the trip changed from last year. Instead of having the team go to a dining hall, they made their own meals at the hotel in between practices and races, which allowed for more downtime and bonding.

Boys varsity crew member and junior, Solomon Sakakeeny-Smith, said that the amount of time he spends with his teammates is more than just the important practices and competitions.

“You are living and training with your teammates the whole time; you are not necessarily focusing on the races,” Sakakeeny-Smith said. “It is a very good team bonding experience. There were definitely people on the trip that did not know each other well and improved their relationships drastically over the time we were there.”

In addition to observing the physical improvements to the team, the time between practices and races with your teammates is a beneficial resting period.

“Just being able to cook our own food and lunch and relax a little bit and decompress between the practices really helped keep our energy levels up through the entire trip and it showed on the water,” Sakakeeny-Smith said.

Girls varsity crew member and senior Anna Jee said the trip makes people improve their relationships and expand their friend groups in the community.

“It is one of the biggest components of how we bond every year. Not only on the girls and guys teams, but also in the friend groups we create throughout the season,” Jee said.

According to Mog, the coaches were impressed with the improvement on the water and the new bonds within the team after the trip to Austin.

“Everyone was at every practice and the group of girls that were there for the first time clearly made the most out of every practice,” Mog said. “It was so amazing to see them at the end of the week get confident on the water as a team rather than as individuals.”