STORY BY ASHLEY BEALL
Race days are what we live for.
There’s nothing quite like the wave of relief that hits you as you cross the finish line. You know that you have been working for that moment and that your training has paid off.
The rowing team’s first race is this Saturday for the Head of the Des Moines.
Our sport is basically year -round, with our conference season beginning in the spring. Our fall season is a little different, in that we race 6,000 meters, and in the spring we race 2,000 meters.
I’ve always liked spring season better, but fall is a beneficial challenge that pushes us to get ready for spring season.
This will be our novices’ first race.
Our sport is different than most in that you did not have to row in high school in order to join. We are a walk-on sport with a few team members that have rowed before.
But just because we have not been rowing all our lives does not mean that we work any less than other teams.
Every morning at 5:30 a.m., we meet in front of the Bell Center, and head down to the Des Moines River to practice until about 7:45 a.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have weights right after practice.
It is a new experience for a lot of the freshmen on our team, so the varsity members do our best to help them get acclimated to a completely new lifestyle.
Rowing is not a sport where you have fans cheering for you every step of the way.
It’s a very tough sport, mentally, and requires your motivation to come from your mind.
We also have a coxswain, a team member that sits at the head of the boat who is steering the boat and essentially yelling at you to stay focused and hit the rate changes.
The first race is kind of like a precursor for the freshmen to see what the rest of our season will be like.
The fall is not as intense as the rest of our schedule.
The best part about practice is to see how far each one has come since their first day on the water three weeks ago. It is like they are a completely different group and have been rowing a lot longer than just three weeks.