Understandably, this was an interesting season. However, through all of the adversity, there were plenty of accomplishments that this group can take into next year and beyond.
All things considered, our recruiting efforts in the pandemic were massively successful. Over the course of the fall, our varsity athletes did a great job safely and informally recruiting new rowers while any formal campus gatherings were shut down. We then added to that group of interested members through our Spring involvement fair and follow-up meetings, and when we were finally able to practice in February, we had roughly 40 and 30 members on the men’s and women’s rosters.
From February to mid-March, we held five indoor practices every day, two in the morning and three in the afternoon, to accommodate the social distancing regulations and allow everyone to make it to a time slot. The practices were short but fun and effective. We managed to get almost everyone on the roster down to the Drake at least three times a week, with some coming more as their schedules allowed.
After we finally finished indoors, we brought almost everyone outside for a massive learn-to-row day out at O’Shaughnessy Reservoir. We had half of the rowers on the water while the others had a barbecue and then they switched. After that day, we began running regular practices at O’Shaughn, typically running two eights of men and two of women each day.
Through April, we built up to running daily races between even boats, often with the two trading leads and wins across the pieces each day. There was a great atmosphere that was both fun and competitive, and the rowers grew a lot both as athletes and as teammates. We culminated the season as we started it—with a full team night at O’Shaughn with rowing and a barbecue. The night was fun and emotional, as we said goodbye to our seniors, Meg and Austin, and thanked them for their unbelievable contributions to the team.
Overall, we left the Spring semester in better spirits and with significantly bigger numbers than we began with. I’m proud of the responsibility and resilience of our officer core, the captains, and the rest of this squad. They stayed dedicated throughout the pandemic and created success in the face of adversity.