The transition to collegiate rowing
First-year remarks on how she adjusted to Division-III athletics
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:10
Before coming to Wellesley, I was convinced that I’d ended my crew career when I crossed the finish line of my last race in the blazing heat of Oak Ridge, Tenn. this past summer. It was a race that caused me to miss my high school graduation.
Once I got to Wellesley, I was doing pretty well at staying away from rowing. My parents had convinced me that rowing was too time consuming, that there were other things I could do with my time and waking up at 4 a.m. every day for practice wasn’t very appealing. However, a girl in my First Year Mentor (FYM) group was planning on joining novice crew. When she discovered that I had been a coxswain in high school, she barraged me with questions that made me rediscover how much I loved crew. I knew then that I wouldn’t be able to stay away from it.
Now that I’m on the team, I love every moment. Coach Austin Work does his best to mask his fear of us flipping or damaging the rowing equipment, but he is incredibly optimistic about this year, as we have the largest team in the history of Wellesley rowing.
Last year, the novice crew team handed Williams its first defeat in seven years, finishing the race ahead by 0.417 seconds. This year we are determined to go even faster and hopefully not just repeat, but build on our success.
Coach Work not only teaches us the basics of the stroke; due to his passion for the sport, he also teaches us how to love rowing and how to love the team. The three captains of the varsity team, Taylor Black ’13, Jessica Frey ’13 and Jennifer Lamy ’13, are great rowers and role models. The entire varsity team is incredibly supportive, and they are always up for helping a novice with technique or even just throwing out some words of encouragement.
But compared to the varsity team, the novice crew team is a bunch of adorable first-years learning how to row. Wellesley’s varsity crew team is a conglomeration of national-caliber rowers with rippling quads and calloused hands. They graciously impart their wisdom upon us in the form of tips on rowing technique, nutrition, caring for blisters and time management.
This past weekend at the Snake Regatta on Lake Quinsigamond, Wellesley posted a strong showing with the first novice boat coming in second place. The second novice boat won their event and the varsity team also had their first win over Bates, marking a great start to the season. Head Coach Tessa Spillane often likes to ask us what our motto is for the year. We all respond in unison, “Best ever!”