The Lehigh women's pair rowing boats run through practice exercises on the Lehigh River on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (Sally Gu/B&W Staff)

Women’s rowing prepares to hit the water on March 20


Lehigh women’s rowing is set to take on Saint Josephs at Schuylkill river in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, March 20, 2021.

The team has been preparing for this race since the beginning of the spring semester, and despite their 2020 season being canceled, the team has continued to persevere. 

At the very beginning of lockdown, the team would meet over Zoom to stay in contact with each other. This then transitioned to outdoor socially distanced workouts, which transitioned to water training. Now, they prepare for their first race which is on March 20, 2021. 

Although the team is back at the boathouse, conditions are altered due to COVID-19. 

“When we first get to the boathouse we need our Hawk Watch app and it needs to be good to go and we get our temperature checked,” said junior Gabrielle Eliseo. “We practice every day but Sunday, and now it is very similar to last year, except we need to wear masks at practice”

The team has adapted to the unique situation of not being able to practice during the fall semester. The recent snowstorms have made it especially difficult to put time in the water. 

We were doing a lot of running and other body circuits so we could keep our distance, senior Ellie Falk said. “We are doing all of our technique training now and getting a lot in a short time. We are getting in that competitive mindset.”

 Although much has changed over the course of the past year, the team’s goals and mindset haven’t changed. 

For many of the seniors, this is their final chance to win the Patriot League Championship, and that is exactly what they are setting out to accomplish. 

“This is my last year to race at Patriots and I think everyone is really excited to get out there,” Falk said. “The team’s goal is to get medals, and the team looks good. I think we have a good chance” 

Although the team’s focus remains the same, the Mountain Hawks will be competing without some of the players on their roster.

“One of the biggest changes this season is we had to give the option to the athlete,” said head coach Brian Conley. “They had to choose to opt-in or opt-out of the spring 2021 season. They have the option to practice or compete so they need to want to be here.” 

There is still work to be done, and a lot of moving pieces are being shuffled by  Conley. 

With all the new conditions, persevering has been much more difficult, but the team is focusing on what is in their control in order to create the best product possible. 

As of now the coach is still settling in and figuring out lineups. Conley can not do his standard process due to the unique protocols of the spring 2021 season but is confident that the team will be ready to face Saint Josephs on March 20. 

“As far as our goals go, they are still the same,” Conley said. “Every team is going through it. We are still trying to win a Patriot League Championship.”

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