Rowers use team bonds to reach gold

From 4:00 a.m. practices to rigorous weekend races, it is clear that the UVM crew team has some of the hardest working athletes on campus. Yet, the team doesnt always receive the most attention.

UVMs crew club began in 1986. Since then, athletes have been waking up before the crack of dawn every day to row on Lake Champlain or Lamoille River.

Normally were up at 4:30, junior rower Joshua Barry said, People say Why do you do it? When youre at Lake Champlain and when you rode 6000 meters down, and youre spinning and you see the sun coming up over the mountains, it makes everything worth it.

According to Vermonts rowers, crew is the ultimate team sport; more so than any other. Teammates fully rely on each other to keep them going.

During a 2k race, 2 minutes in youre ready to quit, but you have to remember that there are 7 other guys or girls in the boat with you, Barry said. The second you stop, youre letting them down and youve lost.

The crew team is a very close-knit group. They spend a lot of time together in hotels, car rides, spring break to South Carolina, and, of course, practice.

We arent in sororities of fraternities because we are each others family, Barry said.

The rowers spend every day together. Junior Buster White says, These are the guys youll be spending the rest of your life with. And if thats the kind of thing youre looking for when you come to college youre interested in then you should join UVM crew. People you see your first day of practice will be your groomsmen, best man, childrens godparents.

The UVM Crew team begins its spring season April 14 with a race against Middlebury for both men and women. They will face off against the US Coast Guard, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of New Hampshire, and Bates College before the New England Rowing Championships May 4and American Collegiate Rowing Association.

Being the only other team in Vermont, Middlebury has continued to be Vermonts longstanding state rival. The rivalry between the teams have lasted for years, however as of 6 years ago when Middlebury began hosting races, the competition escalated. Each year, these teams battle for the Vermont Cup. In 2012 Vermont managed to take home the win.

The crew team came off of a strong performance in the New England Championships in the fall. Last year we got silver and bronze in our 4s and silver in our the mens novice 8. Weve been New England champs in the 4s for the past 4 years. For a club program we hold our own.

4s races are those in which each boat competing carries 4 team members. Similarly 8 races sits 8 rowers to a boat.

Its [The New England Championship] a great way of gauging your performance [at the ACRA]. At the New England Championships you know where youre going to stand and you want to prove everybody wrong that you can do it.

Due to its remote practice sites and far off competitions, crew is a foreign sport to most. Which is why the Crew team constantly has to go through the process of recruiting.

Recruitment is just an ongoing process. Were always happy to take new people on, Barry said. Were a club sport. We dont cut. So if you want to sign up, we teach you how to row. We dont turn anybody away.

But while the crew may not have the biggest fan base, those who watch the races are very supportive.

People dont really know too much about the sport, Barry said. We always have one of the loudest cheering sections. They give you just the kick you need to keep you going.

When asked about the message the crew team would like to send out about the underexposed sport, White added, Its a great sport. Rowers are very dedicated, trustworthy people who will push themselves to the limit not only in rowing, but academics and in life.

Joining the crew team is a great decision. Its a sport that will last the rest of your life.

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