State College Area Rowing Team Navigates a Successful Year

A group picture of the 2024 State College Area Rowing team.
A group picture of the 2024 State College Area Rowing team.
Amy Liu

The State College Area Rowing (SCAR) team has wrapped up another eventful season, showcasing their teamwork and competitive spirit. With the purpose of providing rowing opportunities to as many students as possible, SCAR has successfully navigated the challenges and triumphs of a busy season.

Junior Sterling Kotcher, a member of the rowing team, emphasized the inclusive nature of SCAR. “Both the team and the coaches aim to provide the best experience possible for anyone who is interested in rowing, no matter their skill level,” he said. The accepting atmosphere is evident in the team’s approach to training and competition.

SCAR participates annually in both fall and spring competitions, with two races in the fall and four to five in the spring. “In the fall, we do 5K races and typically place well at the Head of the Ohio in Pittsburg. In the spring, we focus more on shorter races and have placed well in the Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships and the Stotesbury Regatta,” Kocher said.

The team’s training regimen involved conditioning throughout the season, with a focus on technical aspects and racing strategies as competitions approach. “The coaches like to play with lineups throughout the season to find the best seat for each rower to keep rhythm and power,” Kotcher said. The internal competition among teammates also helped build competitive spirit and prepared the team for real races.

Furthermore, maintaining harmony within the boat was crucial. “It is vital that people in the boat get along and can work together. When relationships break down, it affects the whole team,” Kotcher said, highlighting the importance of teamwork.

Both Kotcher and Liliana Fuller, another junior on the team, praised the coaches for their dedication and support. “Our coaches are always at the lake before anyone else, prepping the boats for practice, setting up new equipment, making repairs, scheduling events, and much more,” said Kotcher.

Fuller added, “The coaches show up to practices full of enthusiasm and determination. They want us to be successful just as much as we do, and they help us achieve this by creating intensive erg workouts and encouraging us to surpass our goals.”

The team’s spirit of encouragement extends beyond the water. Fuller described the teammates’ support for each other during erg workouts and on race sidelines. “We practice our racing starts so that we know what to expect on race day. We race other boats and other teams to practice working together in the boat and nail our timing,” she said. Such practice helped them achieve synchronicity and consistency during actual competitions.

But the season was not without its challenges. Kotcher mentioned the occasional mood dips among rowers, which could disrupt the team’s harmony. Additionally, the influx of new rowers required adjustments and quick learning. “We had a lot of novice boats on the water that needed to be trained, and some of our more experienced rowers were able to assist the coaches in teaching them quickly,” he said.

Despite these challenges, SCAR stayed resilient. Fuller highlighted the team’s dynamic nature, characterized by constant change and progress. “There was something new each practice; athletes hitting personal records on the ergs, storms causing rough conditions during lake practice, and rowing with different boats and people,” she said.

Reflecting on the season, Kotcher and Fuller both expressed optimism for the future. “A word to describe this last season would be busy. We had more rowers than ever join the team this year,” Kotcher said. Fuller added, “SCAR’s biggest strengths this season were commitment and encouragement. We wanted to show each other that we can push ourselves out on the lake.”

As SCAR looks ahead to the next season, the team’s dedication promises continued success. With a foundation built on inclusivity and a commitment to excellence, SCAR is poised to achieve even greater heights in the future.

 

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