You are hereMen's crew team prepares for spring season
Men's crew team prepares for spring season
Early mornings, freezing temperatures, six days a week. For these athletes, it’s just part of the deal. So what is it about this sport that keeps them coming back for more?
There’s no break in sight for this team. With seven practices over six days a week, they practically breath rowing, in order to prepare for their upcoming season starting March 20.
The program director and men’s head coach is Alex Berlin. He’s confident the team will maintain its good standings from last year’s races. “Every team member came home from our league championships with a medal, which has never been done.…Last year we didn’t put a boat out of the top 10 in the nation,” said Berlin.
The grueling practice schedule is necessary to maintain aerobic fitness. But the early mornings can be tough for these full time students. “It’s incredibly busy…sometimes you feel like you don’t have time to breathe,” said senior captain Adam Swetlik. “But it’s so worth it.”
During the Fall and Spring seasons, team members wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to get in a couple hours of rowing before classes start. “It’s sort of the beast of rowing that some of these practices are pretty early,” said Berlin. Right now, practices consist of using indoor rowing machines at the CU Recreation Center. Those practices start as early as 6 a.m. But once the ice melts, and the temperatures creep just above freezing, these athletes will be back on the water. And in some cases, they’ll be rowing before the sun comes up.
The joy the teammates get from rowing keeps them coming back for more. “There’s definitely no other experience that I’ve ever had like rowing…just the feeling of being on the water and being up before anybody else. The things that rowing has given me have made my life so much better,” said Swetlik.
The long hours have also made the team much closer. They aren’t just friends anymore, they’re like family. “We’re literally together all the time…they are my family in Colorado. I depend on them for everything,” said Swetlik. “I do whatever I can for them and they do whatever they can for me.”
Once the Spring season begins, sights are set on the big prize: the National Championship regatta in Oklahoma City. That race will be held May 22-23. And the crew team is hoping all of their hard work will send them back to Colorado with medals in hand.
The CU crew team was established in 1992 with help from the Rocky Mountain Rowing Club at Cherry Creek. Over the years, the program has grown, and now the men’s team alone has 28 rowers and five coxswain (the person in charge of navigating and steering). The collegiate season runs during the academic year, starting on the first day of class and ending at Nationals in May.