With four new boats and increased funding, coach Rebecca Gryzbowski said there is plenty of support for the women’s rowing team.
“That’s part of the fun of rowing in Philadelphia and rowing for Temple,” Gryzbowski said. “You’re part of a culture that really understands rowing, supports rowing, has supported rowing for generations, so to be a part of something like that is always really fun.”
Temple’s rowing team has grown rapidly in recent years and this fall is no different. The team features more than 40 athletes, including nine freshmen and 14 sophomores. With the Navy Day Regatta approaching on Oct. 12, Gryzbowski said she’s encouraged her team is ready to compete.
“We are starting pretty close to where we left off last year across the board, which is great,” Gryzbowski said. “Technically, everyone showed up much further ahead. Everyone is really intense, really aggressive and showing up ready to work and ready to make changes, so it’s just been a really great first few days of practice.”
One of the biggest improvements in the program has been the addition of four new boats, including one Hudson Boat Works product. Junior Ellie Oken said she’s excited about what the new boats can offer.
“Hudsons are the nicest boats on the market,” Oken said. “I have never been in one before, so it’s a big deal to be in a Hudson, let alone a brand new one.”
“The new boat is really nice,” freshman Lindsay Ackerman said. “I rode a single in high school, so this is my first time in an eight [person boat], so it’s really nice to transition into sweeping with.”
With the new faces, questions arise about whether the team will be able to mesh together within a few weeks.
“We do have a lot of new faces, and a lot of people who haven’t been at higher levels of competition,” Oken said. “But that’s not such a big deal when we have people rowing hard every day. We’ve been really working together with everybody on the team of all skill levels.”
Likewise, the incoming freshmen are excited to be starting their collegiate rowing careers at Temple.
“What Coach has been saying is true,” freshman Hope Watson said. “We’re more ahead than last year, and our technique has been really good. Everybody’s been working really hard in the weight room and everyone has really high standards.”
Not only has the work been going well on the water and in the weight room, but the team has also been focusing on staying positive heading into the fall season.
“The most important thing is to be all together and have the same mindset,” Ackerman said. “If we go out and everyone has the same mindset of wanting to win, and pushing as hard as they can, we can do that.”
The Navy Day Regatta is a historic event that started in 1986 when two Navy League members, captain John Mulhern and Richard Stewart, started the idea to promote awareness of the Navy and Marine Corps during the celebration of the Navy’s founding in the second week of October. What originated as a modest 700-meter race has turned into a full head race, also serving as a warm-up for the Head of the Charles Regatta on Oct. 19, the largest two-day regatta in the world.
“We want to be competitive with all the Philadelphia schools,” Gryzbowski said. “Drexel is pretty fast, Penn is pretty fast, St. Joe’s is always a pretty deep team, so we want to set the tone for the rest of the year.”
“Rowing is an interesting sport,” Gryzbowski added. “Fall is typically not our main season. It’s more of a season that was invented to keep yourself occupied, training throughout the fall and building fitness. The spring is our championship season, so the fall to us as a coaching staff is seeing people develop, getting a lot of miles in and building that fitness. [The Navy Day Regatta] does set the tone though, and I’d like them to obviously do well.”
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.