NJ High School Crew Ready to Take it to the Water

Oradell resident and teammates are ready for the season to begin

NJ High School Crew Ready to Take it to the Water

Submitted by Oradell resident Margaret McKee, who competes on a crew team

Back in November, when the New Jersey division of the New York Rowing Association de-rigged their boats one last time for the season, these high school students knew they had several months ahead of rigorous indoor workouts, but they also knew it was all for a good cause: the promise of a rewarding spring season back on the water.

Land training for the crew includes running stairs, working on ergometers, which are indoor rowing machines, doing weight circuits, and taking trips to West Point to work on their indoor rowing tanks. These workouts can be tough, but the promise of the coming of spring keeps the team motivated.

When asked about this year ‘s winter workout, Coach Tom Curry said “Honestly, for everyone in New Jersey this has been a long winter... but the long hours of work on the indoor rowing machines endured by the boys and girls will pay off on the water in the coming weeks.”

As the weather gets warmer, the team is reminded of why they hold such passion for this sport. Ask any crew member, and they will attest that the feeling of a boat gliding underneath you and being in perfect synch with the rest of the rowers in your boat is like no other. Many will tell you that the serenity of the water and the river’s surroundings are just some of the rewards that come with the hard work, immense focus, and excruciating technique that goes into each stroke.

When asked what she loves about the sport, team member and Holy Angels sophomore Mary Kate Vigneron said, “Not only has crew made me grow stronger both physically and mentally but it has helped me to develop great friendships that will last forever.”

Other members of the crew call it the “ultimate team sport”, and stress that the boats move most successfully when the motions of each rower are perfectly in synch, and that great bonds develop among the team’s members.

Members are motivated to work hard during the winter months: the trade-off is the thrill of crossing the finish line ahead of the other crews at the upcoming spring races. The NYRA NJ crew is eagerly anticipating the spring regattas, including races at Mercer Park in Central New Jersey, the Cooper Cup in Camden, and the Stotesbury Cup in Philadelphia, Pa., the largest high school regatta in the country. Summer plans include a trip to Canada for the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta.

When asked about the challenges of preparing for competition, Coach Curry stated “Races are hard for coaches, you try to prepare the crews the best you can. When your crew shoves off from the dock at the regatta you hope, pray and wish they are ready for the battle that awaits them.”

Success in high school rowing often leads to college recruiting, and can represent a huge advantage when applying to highly competitive institutions. Coach Curry has placed athletes in such esteemed programs as Bucknell, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Fordham, Georgetown, Penn, MIT, NortheasternWesleyan, Wisconsin and Yale.

The current squad includes students from Holy Angels, Bergen Catholic, Ramapo, Immaculate Heart Academy, Glen Rock, Ridgewood, Tenafly, Leonia and Dwight Englewood. Coach Curry hopes to extend the program to Elmwood Park, Paterson, Fair Lawn, and Hawthorne, especially those athletes without prior commitments to spring sports.

In his experience with rowing, Curry has found that those who have the most success with the sport from the beginning include basketball players, swimmers, and hockeyplayers. The New York Rowing Association has 40 scholarships available for 8th and 9th graders interested in the sport. We are looking for exceptional student athletes and/or students who come from economically disadvantaged families or are struggling to overcome a disability.

For more information about the NJ crew of the New York Rowing Association, please contact Coach Thomas Curry at 917-538- 5792, tcurry@nyrowing.org or visit the NYRA website, at www.nyrowing.org.