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The Milton Measure

Student Rowers Impress as Athletes Beyond Milton’s Teams

by on Friday, May 19th, 2017

Following eighth period, most of Milton’s athletes will make their way down to the ACC in preparation for a two hour practice ending at 5:45. For most of Milton’s rowing community, however, the 2:55 dismissal prompts a 45 minute commute to a boathouse and a two and a half hour practice either on the water or in the weight room.

While a few of Milton Academy’s rowers represent the Town of Milton’s Neponset Rowing Club, which meets in Lower Mills, the majority are members of the Community Rowing Inc. (CRI) program, based on the Charles River in Brighton, MA. CRI, founded in 1985, is not only the first public rowing club in Boston, but also one of the largest in the United States. It is an impressive facility comprised of a large boathouse with a weight room, bikes, ergs, docks, boats and an experienced coaching staff. The program stays true to its motto, “Rowing for All”, with programs for rowers of all ages, abilities, and financial backgrounds. The club also has a particularly strong high school rowing program.

On the high school level for any rowing club, both girls and boys have the opportunity to compete on the or JV equivalent or varsity level. Freshman year is typically the starting point for most rowers, as beginning such a demanding sport at a younger age can be physically damaging. In this year, all rowers are required to try out as “novices” to learn the basics of rowing in various boats, such as singles, quads, or eights. These boats can be either rowed with two oars—a technique called “sculling”—such as singles or quads, or they can be rowed with one oar— sweep rowing—such as an eight. Rowers look to make either the varsity team the following year or compete at the collegiate level by improving their “erg time,” which, like a mile time, measures how fast a rower can row 500 meters depending on the athlete’s fitness, weight and technique. If a rower does not make the varsity team, most clubs offer less competitive alternatives that will still allow those interested to get on the water and improve their skills. The majority of rowers at the varsity level will continue to row in college.

As the sport becomes increasingly popular, Milton students may wonder why our school, unlike Nobles, St. Mark’s, Groton and many other New England prep schools has not formed a team of its own. Jack Robinson (II), a coxswain whose brother, Grant (IV), also rows for CRI, does not see a rowing team in Milton’s future due to a lack of water space. Ellie Baker (II) agrees with this point of view, adding that acquiring a boat house, the proper equipment, and enough student interest would be extremely difficult to coordinate. As a result, Milton rowers will continue to maintain their typical schedules by practicing daily, travelling to spring and fall weekend regattas in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Canada, and training twice a day in the summer from 8:00-11:00 in the morning and 1:30-4:00 in the afternoon.

While rowing can be a rewarding sport, the commitment can be demanding. Jack finds the commute “kind of brutal,” an opinion with which Ellie wholeheartedly agrees on; furthermore, Ellie dreads the callused hands and lack of time after school. Kevin Lu (II) hates the pre-workout anxiety as “[he] doesn’t know if [he] will be able to embrace the pain enough to do well.” However, despite these negative aspects, all three rowers and the many others who do this sport will acknowledge that rowing, from both a communal and athletic standpoint, is extremely rewarding and is considered one of their favorite parts of their high school experiences.

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Posted by on May 19 2017. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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