The Women’s Rowing Team Looks to Attack the Spring Season

This past weekend, the Colgate’s Women’s Rowing Team competed in the Murphy Cup Regatta in Philadelphia. The varsity 4+ (1V4) finished fourth in its heat, coming in 25 seconds faster than the fifth place boat of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The first varsity 8+ (1V8) came in fourth as well, 19 seconds faster than fellow Patriot League member, Loyola University Maryland. The second varsity 8+ (2V8) came in fifth. 

The Murphy Cup was the first race of the spring season, following only two weeks of water time. Senior captain Isabel Gephart said that this race was a good baseline for the team to see where they are in relation to other schools. Gephart also mentioned how nice it was to return to big regattas with fans and crowds, after the limited racing they were able to do last spring. 

Coach Jessica Deitrick echoed Gephart’s words:

“We got the first race jitters out of our system, and we took some great steps towards our team goals for the season.”

Looking back to the fall, the team started the season at the Hamilton College Invitational, where they participated in 4x1000m pieces with both Hamilton College and Ithaca College. Both the 1V and the 2V swept. At the Head of the Charles, the 1V8 did extremely well, qualifying for the next year by placing in the top half of the event. 

At the Head of the Fish, Dietrick commented on the team’s adaptability:

“The team was able to make some good adjustments to their racing and came off of the water excited for winter training.”

In terms of winter training, the team lifted three times a week, cross-trained twice a week, and spent a lot of time on the ergometers (indoor rowing machines). 

Senior Jess Kaplan explained the functionality of winter training:

“[Winter training is] used to build up their strength, speed and endurance.” 

She expanded that, while it was tiring for the squad both physically and mentally, the training was good preparation for the spring when there are multiple races a day.  

The team finished up the winter with a training trip to Sarasota, Fla., where they were finally able to get back onto the water. Kaplan said that as the team moves into the spring they will turn their focus to the technical aspects of the boats and racing strategies. 

Looking toward the rest of the spring season, Deitrick cites that the main goal of the team is to shorten the margin with the top place boat at Patriots in the 1V8, 2V8, and 1V4. Last year the team finished fourth at the Patriot League Championship. 

“Over the past six years our margins have been consistently over 25 seconds, and that just isn’t going to cut it if we want to be in the top half of the conference,” Deitrick said. “After racing was done at Patriots we talked as a team and the excitement amongst the women was contagious, they all wanted more, they wanted to be faster, they wanted to be stronger.” 

In order to work towards Patriots, Deitrick says that the team has set a lot of short-term goals, some spending time on the rowing machines, others getting into the weight room, and some focusing on mindset and team culture. 

Gephart echoed Deitrick’s sentiment:

“We race a huge range of schools throughout the season, so the goal is to close the gap on faster crews and take down as many as we can. All the schools in the Patriot League are always pushing to be faster, and we want to do that better than anyone else.”

Gephart continues to say that the best way to accomplish their goals is to trust the process and believe that all the work that they have put in to build a strong base in the fall will pay off. 

Coach Deitrick said that challenges will always arise in the world of varsity sports. While she wishes she could predict the future, Deitrick believes that the best way to overcome any challenge is to live by the motto, “control the controllables.”

Kaplan and Gephart both believe that the team is incredibly strong and cohesive, especially with the return of the juniors, who were abroad in the fall, and are excited to see where the spring takes them. The team returns to the water in Cherry Hill, N.J. for the Knecht Cup Regatta next weekend.