On the banks of the old Raritan…


I’ve never tried rowing before. My entire experience was limited to watching eight tall guys doing their best : oaring to endurance limits. It always seemed to me very competitive and challenging and I don’t think I ever pictured myself as one of them, working together in a crazy pace to first hit the finish line. But things have changed…

As I was thinking about my goals in college education, I came across the Rutgers Crew website. I read a bit about their long, over 150 years history (which makes male rowing the oldest sport at Rutgers) and learned a lot of interesting stuff.
Crew team consist of two types of athletes : oarsmen, who do the heavy physical job and carry the oars and a coxswain – the shortest and lightest person, usually around 130 pounds of weight, whose job is to be de facto a coach while the entire team competes on the water.

I wanted to row, but didn’t know if I wasn’t too short for that role. Fortunately, Rutgers crew requires from an oarsman to be at least 5’8, so my 5’9 was enough to give it a shot. My lack of previous experience also didn’t seem to be a problem. Lucky me!

I signed up for the try-outs and went to the Class of 1914 Boathouse on the Cook / Douglass campus to learn the basics of this sport, did some first ergo and cross-fit exercises and eventually set off on my first barge (the training boat). I knew that it won’t always be that beautiful – 80 degrees Fahrenheit, sun and perfect conditions – but I fell in love with this sport from the very first moment.
You can imagine my enthusiasm after coach Farrell announced that I qualified for the freshman (or, as we call it, ”frosh”) team!

My first week of training is now over. 6 Days a week, Monday till Saturday our team exercises with the sandbags and ergs, and later sits in the barge on the Raritan River and rows towards either College Ave or the opposite direction. I haven’t worked out in a real 8-people running boat yet, but it’s probably going to happen sometime this week.
Currently I’m on my way to Busch campus. I can’t forget about my college grades after all, but my new sport seems to be very interesting and challenging. Hopefully, all the hard work will pay off.