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Novice Crew
Katherine Heaney '16 Senior Writer
October 28, 2015

Deerfield Crew has always been a strong and successful program in the spring, but now, after much discussion about adding a novice crew option to Deerfield’s fall co-curriculars, that program is finally in place. Varsity Crew Coach Spencer Washburn is leading the group this fall in addition to coaching the spring season.

Maddie Blake
Maddie Blake

The novice crew program is geared toward teaching athletes the basics of crew rather than competing against other schools right away. Mr. Washburn explained, “Crew is a sport that students aren’t really exposed to until high school.”

Novice crew is a way for students to try the sport, even if they aren’t preparing to row in the spring. Jordan Manning ’19 said, “I decided to do novice crew, because I didn’t have a fall co-curricular and crew has always looked really fun to me. I have a spring sport already, so if I didn’t try crew in the fall, I would not have had another opportunity to try it.”

Since the spring season passes by so quickly, fall novice crew is a good place for new rowers to become more familiar with rowing and handling the equipment. It allows the coaching staff to be more deliberate and thoughtful with exposing rowers to the sport and the fundamentals of rowing. On the other hand, the program also provides more experienced rowers with the opportunity to enhance their skills. Michael Wang ’18, nearing his fourth competitive season, said, “I decided to do novice crew because it’s a program that provides a good workout while taking me back to the fundamentals of the rowing stroke—by revising how I row, I can ultimately become a better rower for the spring.”

During the first few weeks of the new co-curricular, the rowers focused on endurance training such as stairs, running, body circuits, and erging. When they’re not working on fitness and form two to three times a week, the 25 participants practice on the water in Holyoke. They’ve been working on many fundamental ideas about the boats like how to put the boat in the water, proper rowing technique and how to row without flipping the boat.

Deerfield already has a top competitive rowing program in the spring; novice crew can only add to the talent of the rowers this fall. Wang said, “This is a great program to get into rowing shape. Logging meters on the erg and water now will be very beneficial to my spring season.” More than half of our peer schools have a fall program for rowing, so this new co-curricular helps Deerfield rowing become even more competitive with other schools. The novice crew program will help Deerfield stay competitive by developing new rowers to contribute to the spring season, but it also provides an enjoyable co-curricular for those who want to try something new.