Crew team works together to fuel their upcoming competitions

Cat Pizzarello, Managing Editor

Evening practices for crew are at 5:15 and last for two hours. They practice at a nearby lake located at Algonkian Park. Photo courtesy of Cindy Deugo.
The crew team works together to carry their boats out of the water after a long practice. Photo courtesy of Cindy Deugo.

Their team may still be in the building stages, but the crew team values teamwork above everything. As they prepare for the long season ahead, sticking together as one seems to be the one thing all these athletes have in common. 

It is a demanding sport as it requires everything from endurance, strength, power, and technique, to teamwork, boat maintenance, and commitment, not just to yourself but to your entire team,” head crew coach Cindy Deugo said. Deugo expressed how much she sees these athletes work as a team during their practices. 

Sophomore Dean Stillings joined the team for the first time this year. “I can’t wait to become more experienced,” Stillings said. 

Stillings stated that they have a multitude of varying practices in a given week. “We have morning and then evening,” Stillings said. Morning practices for the team typically last from 6:45 to 8:30 and during that time they use rowing machines while they can’t get out on the water. 

“We practice Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays,” junior Emma Pearson said. This is Pearson’s second season on the team and she plans to continue her rowing career into college. 

During evening practices at Algonkian Park, these athletes lift 400 pound boats into the water to begin their training. “We get there, we put the launch boats in the water, which are essentially the guide boats,” Stillings said. “Then we row, row, row, and row.” 

The athletes train mentally and physically and show up for each other every practice doing their best,” Deugo said, commending the athletes for how much they get out of their practice time. 

These practices are necessary as the team has many upcoming regattas in the season. “We usually have three or four a year and we usually have to get up super early to get there,” Pearson said. 

The team has four regattas in total, April 22 and 29 and May 6 and 13. “We usually have several boats in different races so we cheer them on and when it’s our turn, we have to go up to the starting line,” Pearson said. 

“We finished last in both races, but it was still fun going to the regatta and everything,” Pearson said in regards to their first regatta. 

“We are currently in the process of building our team,” Deugo said. The team hopes to make it on past Districts this year, but overall just wants to work together to do the best they can. 

“Rowing is a sport that is under the radar in the county and we continually look for ways to get it on the radar of LCHS athletes,” Deugo said about the team’s growth. Crew requires a lot of specialization in a very specific area of athleticism that athletes on the team enjoy about the sport. 

“There is so much teamwork, like if you don’t put your own weight behind what you are doing, you are going to drop the boat on someone else,” Stillings said. Even if they can’t make it on to bigger championships this year, this group of athletes formed a true team this year. 

Pearson says much of the team’s positive attitude and success came from their coaches. “She [Deugo] does lots of different things at her day job, all involved with fitness, so she’s a great person to have helped us with our physical strength, and she’s also just an amazing person so she helps us become better people,” Pearson said. 

Eric Simmons recently joined the team as an assistant coach, who Pearson thinks has been a great addition to their team. “He has a lot of technical knowledge about the sport, which has helped our team a lot,” Pearson said. 

“Success can be defined in many ways,” Deugo said. “Each and every athlete this year has achieved success in terms of learning what it takes to be a rower, what it takes to be a member of a tight knit team, and how to take the principles they learn in the boat to the rest of their lives.” 

These athletes have gained a great deal of unique leadership and teamwork skills, along with complete respect for each other and their coaches. “You are doing stuff by yourself, but you’re working as a team to accomplish those things,” said Pearson. 

“It’s something quite remarkable to be in a boat with your teammates, working together, feeling the sun and the wind, listening to the oars and the water, smelling the oarlock grease and the sweat of the rowers,” Deugo said.