By ISABEL FAUST
Accepting, dedicated, friendly, dependable, passionate and weird, were the words that came to mind when members of both the men’s and women’s crew teams were asked to describe their teammates. UMW’s crew teams have had quite the eventful and inspiring past four years, facing challenges and successes. The main take-away from speaking with some of the members of the teams was that the crew teams are more than sports teams, they are families.
In rowing you must train your mind to never give up. “You can row and you can row but nothing beats the feeling of pushing yourself to your body’s extremes and mentally driving you and your teammates to the finish,” said senior environmental science major and captain of the men’s crew team, Tj Muratore.
Forgetting about the 5 a.m. practices, constant conditioning on ergometers and weight training, Muratore said that joining the UMW men’s crew Muratore has strived to be a good role model having looked up to the captain at the time, Bon Ericson.
Muratore does his best giving advice to the other members, no matter which crew team they are on, and setting the bar high for behavior. “We represent Mary-Washington and the crew team, and the key in rowing is to be respectful to all people on and off the water,” Muratore said.
Setting out on the water with this inspiring mindset, the men’s crew team did very well in their first Regatta, held at William and Mary on Oct. 1. The team took home a first place medal in the men’s varsity 8 and came in second in both the men’s four and men’s novice eight.
The women’s crew team also had a successful day at William and Mary, coming in second place for all of their events. However, both crew teams have not always been successful, especially after such limited practice. Miranda O’Connor, junior biology major and co-captain of the women’s team, was a member of crew when they transitioned from a varsity sport to a club sport to finally a team sport. “The main challenge faced through this transition was the ability to hire coaches as well as in funding received,” O’Connor said.
The teams are now back under the Athletic Department rather than being run by an elected student board as a club sport. The UMW Crew teams work very hard to keep their competitiveness up while still managing limited funds. “Team members currently pay $500 per year in dues, and the team is very mindful of how their limited funds are spent,” O’Connor said. The team also faces many challenges on the water, especially when competing against up to 52 other universities, some nationally ranked Division I teams.
Olivia Taylor, junior communications and digital studies major, is the coxswain for the men’s team. Taylor’s position on the team is crucial and involves communicating with the rowers.
Taylor helped the men’s varsity 8 come in first at their Regatta at William and Mary. “We encourage them, let them know where they are on the course, and anything else they need to know,” Taylor said. Taylor’s role as a mental support system for the rowers helps the team finish and work on technicalities.
Rowing is a year-round sport that includes both mental and physical fortitude ranging from conditioning on dry land to rowing on the water at Hope Springs Marina six days a week. The men’s and women’s teams try their best to set good examples of sportsmanship and treat their teammates as family. Their next Regatta is in Philadelphia on Oct. 29 at the Head of the Schuylkill, so please come out and support these inspiring athletes that make UMW proud.