While the women’s rowing team is receiving new boats for the upcoming season, the men’s crew squad has not been provided the same luxury.
“We can’t buy boats, our budget is kind of small for equipment,” coach Gavin White said. “The women have enough money in their budget because they’re a growing sport. They need more because they have more girls.”
Still, preparation for the fall season is already underway, as the team opens its season on Saturday, Oct. 12 in the Navy Day Regatta on the Schuylkill.
The team is young, featuring eight freshmen and 19 sophomores. While this may be a sign that this season will be a rebuilding year to develop, expectations remain high.
“In the fall we lay down a lot of miles, sometimes 12 miles a day to try and build up a good base for the spring,” White said. “I suspect we’ll be pretty good.”
“We’re just looking to get more and more experience,” White added. “It goes in a cycle, one rep after another. It’s muscle memory.”
Crew is led by senior captains Fergal Barry and Zephyr Dippel.
Both have shared a good relationship thus far as the team’s veterans, each focusing on different aspects of what they believe it takes to be successful. Barry said he likes to keep the focus on the team’s performance in the water and weight room, while Dippel focuses on the academic requirements and staying caught up in class.
“I think we’re a good balance,” Barry said.
“We have conflicting views on some things, but it can be a good thing at times,” Dippel said.
Barry, who White said is nicknamed “The Beast,” was hospitalized for a month during his sophomore season after being involved in a car accident. White said Barry’s return to the team is an example of the kind of drive Barry has shown.
During Barry’s sophomore season, he and the team placed eighth at Princeton Chase Regatta.
“At this moment in time, I’m trying to get the team back there and to the point where we’re striving,” Barry said.
Barry said his role has captain has been a source of motivation.
“It kind of drives me more to push the sophomores on, to push the freshmen on, to get better and to improve,” Barry said.
Dippel said he’s noticing a difference in how the sophomores on the team are transitioning from their rookie seasons.
“Now that they have a year under their belt, they’re a little more mature and can see how the training benefits them,” Dippel said.
Dippel was quick to point out although these sophomores came in last year and had success as freshmen, it’s a new year.
“Our overall team fitness is going to be really improved,” Dippel said. “Those kids that really stood out as freshmen are now sophomores. It’s one thing to be a really good freshman, but now they’re really good sophomores.”
Although Dippel said a few of the athletes “need that extra push,” there has been a collective effort between White, Barry and Dippel to provide encouragement.
“We’re working on making it enjoyable and showing them the results of their hard work and how it pays off,” Dippel said.
Greg Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @illbFRANKwithu.