Rowing crew: fun, but not for the faint-hearted

Jed Dean | Lariat Photo Editor
Amarillo senior and coxswain Grey Rogers, right, directs while from left, Nashville senior Todd Underwood, Euless junior Bram Smith, Dallas senior Josh Brame and Flower Mound junior Stanley Shen row Friday outside the Baylor Crew Building.

By Kelly Galvin

Baylor crew’s hard work has seemed to pay off. Over spring break in Austin the rowing team took first place at its tournament, proving that passion and skill are at an all-time high.

The rowing team takes practice and competition seriously and defines it as one’s commitment, integrity and teamwork.

“Flying down the river with the wind in your face and no motor attached to the boat is an amazing feeling; there’s nothing else like it,” Fort Myers, Fl., junior Jessie Campbell said.

Amarillo junior Grey Rogers is the head coach of the rowing team and said she loves the regattas, which are rowing tournaments between schools.

“My favorite memory was the last regatta of fall 2008. We went to Indianapolis on a charter bus. The bus ride was really long, but it was so fun to hang out with everyone. The race venue was beautiful and we got to go eat and hang out downtown after the race. It was a lot of fun,” Rogers said.

As the head coach of the team, Rogers said rowing takes as much hard work and dedication as other sports.

“I meet with the officers once a week to work on our budget and regatta details. I also meet with my four assistant coaches and members once a week to plan the workouts and workout practice schedules. I also stay in contact with other schools about possible scrimmages and manage the team during practices,” Rogers said.

Crew may not be as popular as football or basketball, but there are advantages to joining this sport.

“Crew is different from other club sports because rowing isn’t something that you had to have done for years and years in order to be on crew. It’s easier to learn than other sports, but it focuses more on details and there is more focus on the adjustments and such of the boats,” Rogers said.

Campbell is the public relations chair of the crew team and has been rowing for the past three semesters. She said she respects Rogers as a coach.

“Grey has been the head coach since I joined my sophomore year. She is a junior, but she acts like a grad student. She is so responsible and is very passionate about crew. She lives and breathes crew and makes me want to work harder and be better,” Campbell said.

Campbell never had any experience in rowing before she joined the team.

“The sport itself is rare and really unique. It’s not easy to do because it’s not easily accessible — it take time money and resources,” Campbell said.

There are no tryouts for crew. People can join crew in the first two to three week in the fall and spring semesters.

Oklahoma City junior Regan Nicewander is entering her second semester on crew and said she highly recommends giving it a try.

“My advice would be to try it out for a few practices and see how they like it. I would also encourage freshmen to join because it’s a great way to get plugged in and meet new people,” Nicewander said.

Nicewander said hard work goes into being on the rowing team.

The team meets at 5 a.m. half of the week and has “grueling” workouts, Nicewander said.

“You don’t have to have any rowing experience to be on crew, but I would recommend being in decent shape because the workouts can be a little intense if your body isn’t prepared for them,” Nicewander said.

Baylor crew is a nonprofit, student-led organization. The team practices and competes nationwide.