After four-and-a-half months of conditioning, men’s crew concluded its indoor season with the annual 2x2k workout on the erg, the 2k distance standing as an imitation of the distance raced on the water. The Ephs fielded the largest squad in history with 43 active rowers. Of these rowers, 35 will travel down to South Carolina with five coxswains for a two-week training trip.
The Ephs are finishing out their last days in Williamstown before the journey to South Carolina for spring break. The final destination is Briarcliffe RV Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where the Ephs enjoy unlimited water up and down the length of Intracostal Waterway down south.
These warm climates are a blessing for the Ephs as their home course, Lake Onota, like most of the Northeast, is still frozen over. The strokes down in SC will be the first the rowers have taken since October.
This year’s varsity squad is primarily composed of a strong senior class that won two New England Championships last year and a deep sophomore class that won an ECAC Freshman National Championship. Though the program graduated six stalwart seniors, the sophomores have filled their shoes with energy and enthusiasm as they assume leadership on the team.
“It’s been a number of years since we have had this many cumulative years of rowing experience on the squad,” noted co-captain Sam Chapin ’15. “Combined with our physical improvements, we hope we can translate these assets into speed on the water, which is ultimately what counts.”
The team is led by Chapin and co-captain Peter Awad ’15 and assisted by an experienced group of seniors including coxswain Maggie Hughes ’15 and oarsmen Neeko Gardner ’15, Connor McLane ’15, Isaiah Clark ’15 and Alexander Nanda ’15. Additionally, experienced seniors Marshall Akita ’15, Philip von Hahn ’15 and Aidyn Osgood ’15 returned from Oxford University in the U.K. to provide some great speed after a hard year of training. The junior class, though small, provides valuable boat experience with Logan Jester ’16, Phil Oung ’16 and Nick Romer ’16 representing. The sophomore class retained nearly all rowers from the prior year, so the men bring a certain level of camaraderie that is helpful.
The Ephs are led by Head Coach Peter Wells ’79 who is entering his 33rd year coaching the crew. The high level of internal competition and independence of the men this year are strengths of the team. The energy level is high, but the men are approaching training and racing in a more mature and experienced way. The novice freshmen spent the fall learning how to row and are chomping at the bit to get back on the water. Led by second-year assistant coach Joe Gartland, the freshmen Ephs are a high -energy and physically imposing bunch. The squad has three experienced rowers and an experienced coxswain with the remainder having walked on at the beginning of the year.
This year the Ephs will not see a home race barring any frozen water concerns in the Northeast, which is a distinct possibility. Currently the Ephs’ first race is planned for April 4 in Philadelphia, Penn. on the Ephs’ return trip from South Carolina. The Ephs are set to see St. Joe’s, Temple and Drexel in two different races on the Schuylkill River. Thereafter, the men will be rowing against WPI and MIT in Worchester, Mass. In this meet last year, every boat that the Ephs put on the water came in first place for its respective division, easily defeating the team’s two opponents.
The Ephs will then compete to hold on to their Little Three title at a location to be determined on April 18 before heading over to Ithaca to race against the United States Coast Guard Academy.
Championship season will begin for the Ephs at the New England Rowing Championships on May 2 also to be held in Worchester, a regional championship regatta for qualifying colleges throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. 1200 rowers and 36 schools compete in the event every year. Last year, the men’s 1V and 2V boats both came in first place, the 1F boat came in second place and the 3V boat came in fith place at the regional rowing event.
Following New England’s, the Ephs will compete at the Eastern College Athletic Conference National Invitational Rowing Championships from May 10-11. The team’s successes at this tournament last year included the 1V boat coming in third place and the 3V boat earning sixth place.