by Julia Lebovitz on Friday, June 5th, 2015
For the past few years, Milton has debated whether or not it should add crew to its already impressive list of offered sports. Although only eight out of the sixteen ISL schools have a crew team, these teams have the opportunity to compete against New England teams on top of the few ISL teams. The season ends with the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) regatta where the top two teams are entered into the National Championships. The ISL is described as “a hot bed for top prospects by college rowing coaches” by the Nobles website. At Milton, many competitive rowers have different opinions about if Milton should offer crew. Robbie Warming (II) believes that Milton should get a crew team because “crew is an amazing sport that stays with you for the rest of your life. Crew is also a phenomenal team sport, as everyone in the boat has to be in perfect sync.” Similarly, Peter DiGiovanni (III) described crew as “a physically and mentally taxing sport, but the value of what you learn from the experience is unparalleled.”
Many Milton rowers have had to take a spring season waiver for club crew and as a result, according to Peter, have developed strong and “close knit” relationships with their out-of-school teams. In fact, Jack Robinson (IV) admits that “If Milton did have a crew team, it would be hard for me to join it. I have already found my ‘home’ at my current boathouse and it would be hard to leave it.” Unlike Jack, Robbie believes that although he’d “want to stay with [his] club since Milton’s team would be just getting started in the first few years, one can turn a team of novices into something that’s very competitive in a short amount of time. Crew has a very sharp learning curve.” Michelle Erdenesanaa (III) thinks “a school team wouldn’t really affect club teams, since Milton would only compete against ISL schools, but each of us has already built our own schedules and routines that depend so much on our club teams, and changing that would be really hard.”
While Milton may not have a river to row in, nearby towns do. In fact, the Milton town crew team rows at Neponset River in Dorchester, only 15 minutes from school. Additionally, as Robbie explained, the commute to the Charles River and to Deerfield Academy’s boathouse is only around 30 minutes away, so, if the team were to leave at 3:00, it would not drastically affect practice. But, Michelle, who rows on the Charles, explained that “the time aspect of rowing raises a really personal decision as to whether crew is worth it or not as it is a big time commitment even without factoring in practice time.” Crew would not be the only team to face difficulties with a commute as many other teams, such as sailing, skiing, swimming, and golf, also have Crew Complications off-campus practices.
Although a crew team might be difficult to start because of rowers’ commitments to club teams, once started, it could provide a great resource for Milton students. While Michelle is hesitant to say that “many Milton students would be willing to drop all of their after school commitments, the team, which would be starting a team from zero, might take several years of experimenting to succeed.” Robbie described how he has already “heard of a lot of interest from friends; all they need is an outlet to explore this passion and I think it is the school’s responsibility to open such doors when there is enough interest.” Robbie went on to explain that “if the school were to row as a fours (four sweep rowers and one coxswain) program at first, it really wouldn’t even need a substantial team size to be competitive. In fact, Belmont Hill, a much smaller school that uses the fours program, has won at Nationals and the Royal Henley Regatta in England multiple times.” With a little interest and a feasible practice location, crew at Milton could quickly become a popular and fun spring sport.
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