Vivi Vovk, '18, a member of the Lehigh rowing team, does a steady state piece on the erg in preparation for the upcoming racing season. While indoors during the winter, the women work on technique and being able to pull in sync, just as they are expected to do when they get back out on the water. (Liz Cornell/B&W photo)

Women’s rowing finishes winter training, prepares for first race

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As the weather warms up and the Lehigh River begins to thaw, the Mountain Hawks’ women’s rowing team will put their boats back in the water.

The team will open up its season in a race Saturday against Temple University, George Washington and the University of Delaware on Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River.

The team is relatively balanced in terms of age, but there are slightly more new underclassmen than returning upperclassmen. However, since the team has returned to campus from winter break, the veterans have been making sure the squad has been taking full advantage of the critical off-water training period. It has been using the erg — an indoor rowing machine — lifting and running stairs in preparation for race day. The team also has “steady state” workouts, which are meant to work on technique. This is often done in sync to work on timing, which is a crucial part to being fast in the boat.

The Mountain Hawks take pride in the erg machine, as they use it to complete all of their workouts on the fifth floor of Taylor gym.

“We have adopted the team mentality of mental toughness, and it has really shown in the personal records many of the girls have been setting for themselves on the erg,” junior Anna Eggert said.

The team is preparing for its first race by having indoor practices six days a week, three of which include lifting, as well as yoga once a week in the morning. However, as soon as the river melts, the team will hold every practice outside on the river.

“Our main focus right now is transitioning from building our base fitness and endurance to developing our anaerobic threshold for sprint racing this spring,” sophomore Maddie Wescott said.

The Mountain Hawks had a strong fall, participating in the Bucknell Invitational, Navy Day and Rutgers Fall Classic. In each of these races the team showed constant improvement as it gained experience against some of the best crews in the region.

“Our goals for this season consist of beating previous team averages by having a well-rounded and more fit team than ever, as well as beating our last year’s standing at the Dad Vail Regatta,” freshmen Jules Malachin said.

She also said the ultimate goal would be medaling at the Patriot League Championships, which take place at the end of the season.

The women’s crew team has goals set not just for racing, but also for the academic semester.

Eggert said the team’s goal is also to raise the overall team GPA and have every member of the team race in the Patriot League championships. Due to the long crew season, the last race is after final grades are announced. Therefore, women who are considered academically ineligible will be unable to participate in the Patriot League tournament, which complicates matters.

The Mountain Hawks are prepared and eager to have a successful season and will look to carry their work ethic from the preseason with them throughout the spring.

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