Chilling air nibbles at the skin, and the water crashes against the boat, splashing the legs of the rowers. The sun appears across the sky, reflecting off the water, creating hues of red and orange. Smiles lay upon the face of the rowers as they stare at the view in front of them-water and boats. Every rower loves nothing more than to be able to be in sync with the water, to push to the limits, to experience the feeling of being a part of a team.
“I love being on the water,” junior Robin Gelderloos said. “There is nothing like having a good row with great people in a boat.”
As spring is rolling in, so are spring sports, and crew is just starting up, getting ready for the season that will hopefully blow all the others out of the water.
“We’re bigger and we’re deeper,” said Nichole Sadek, the head crew coach of the varsity women. “We lost a few strong seniors last year, but we have a lot of girls that joined varsity this year that are pushing the whole team up.”
With roughly 105 team members across all four squads, the stakes are high for crew. With strength in numbers, the thoughts of States are in mind, and the team is stopping at nothing to achieve this goal, pushing themselves to the brink. They are spending loads of time in the weight room just to be able to get out in the water and row like no other.
“Most girls have a moment at some point where they realize that they can go faster or push harder,” said Sadek. “I love watching that realization. It’s like a light switch. They were going along through the motions and doing the workouts and then suddenly they get a fire in their belly to push and their times start dropping or they understand an extra detail to the perfect stroke. I love seeing that passion and excitement because it comes from a genuine and earned confidence. It helps them realize a love for the sport and love for perfecting a skill.”
Pain, sweat and tears are shared among these girls, and many emotions and experiences are shared between them. They spend a huge portion of time together getting to help each other grow but also getting to know each other on a more personal level.
“It’s like family,” Zoe Niswonger, senior and co-captain, said when asked to describe this bond. “We are an incredibly tight-knit group of people, and we know what each other is going through. It’s comforting to know that you always have someone to catch you when you fall. If you’re having family troubles, your team is there. If you’re having friend troubles, your team is there. If you’re going through a breakup, your team is there. It’s a very special thing to be a part of something containing so much love and strength. It’s a tough feeling to describe.”
A unity, a pack, a team. Crew goes beyond all expectations for a team in trying to provide a support system for all team members. With all that love towards a sport and compassion towards one thing, they can’t wait to experience it together as a family.
“Rowing is such a fun sport and if you’re looking to make new friends and try something new, it’s the place to be,” Niswonger said. “We are a giant family and we always love to see new faces and take them in!”