From front: sophomore coxswain Isaac Marlowe, sophomore Charles Bickhart, junior Zachary Maguire, sophomore Kyle Schipper, freshman Daniel Lindsey, sophomore Kyle Hayes, junior Brett Ley, freshman Ethan Kwan and freshman Gencer Ates row up the Lehigh river in Allentown during rowing practice on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. The team will have its first race of the season on March 12 against Loyola University (Maryland). (Chris Barry/B&W Staff)

Lehigh rowing teams to open year against Loyola

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The varsity women’s rowing team and the men’s club varsity rowing team have been preparing for their upcoming spring season. With the first regatta of the season against Loyola University (Maryland) on Saturday, team members are eager to demonstrate the work they put in during the fall and winter seasons.

“The goal every year is to be better than the year before,” coach Brian Conley said.

All members of the men’s and women’s squads returned two weeks early from winter break to participate in an intense winter training period. The two-a-day training schedule is physically demanding, and the coaching staff put an emphasis on what freshman coxswain Olivia McGeough described as mindfulness.

McGeough said mindfulness’ role in rowing is important because the sport is just as much mental activity as it is physical.

“It’s a huge mental barrier, so a lot of us are taking mindfulness seriously,” she said, “and we’ve actually seen great results.”

Sophomore Alex Zulauf believes in the importance of men and women practicing together as members of the Lehigh rowing program, regardless of class distinctions.

“We all do the same style of workouts,” Zulauf said. “Even though we may be in different boats on the water one day, we have the same intent.”

With early morning lifts three times a week plus afternoon practice six times a week, the team has continued to put in work for a successful season.

The goal of constant improvement and taking the season one race at a time has aided the two teams’ mentalities going into the spring season and upcoming regatta.

Newly elected captains of the men’s team, junior Zach Maguire and sophomore Chet Bickhart, along with the women’s captains, seniors Carolyn Mazzie and Natalie Bates, are leading both teams to attain their goals for the spring season.

“We’re trying to get closer to that medal stand,” McGeough said.

Competing in the Patriot League, the long-term goal of the varsity women’s team is to make it to the Grand Finals. Last year, the varsity four made it to the Grand Finals while the varsity eight made it to the Petite Finals of the Patriot League.

For the men’s team, which will compete in the Dad Vail Regatta, Conley said the goal is making it to the semifinals.

Zulauf reiterated the everyday goals of the team.

“We have some goals amongst ourselves with how fast we want to be speed wise,” he said. “We have a goal of where we want the men’s team to average out and for the top boat we put out, we want that to be a certain average as well.”

Going into the first regatta of the season, both teams feel confident the season will have a positive trajectory due to their training in the winter season.

“Our goal really going into (the Loyola regatta) is to just see where we’re at,” Conley said. “Loyola is typically about where we are in terms of the Patriot League, so it should be a pretty good contest.”

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