by Kelsey Hausman, Shannon Slater, Matthew Dresselhouse
The rhythmic buzz of ten rowing machines fill the desolate Bubble at 6:30 a.m. as the Franklin Pierce Rowing team prepares for their Spring Season.
“C’mon ladies last one, push hard!” yelled Hannah Eldridge, sophomore coxswain, as the team pushes through the final set of the morning’s piece.
The rowers spend a minimum of 10 hours a week training for a race, which if done correctly, will be over in 8 minutes.
“A lot of people really underestimate how much time and effort really goes into rowing, it is a physically demanding sport,” said sophomore rower Holly Hay.
For the first ten minutes of practice they sit in the loft of the Bubble listening to a guided meditation to mentally prepare for practice.
Next they warm up with five minutes of laps and ten minutes of dynamic stretching, and then the real work begins on the “Ergs,” their name for the rowing machines.
On different days of the week the women will row various interval pieces on the ergs. They may sprint for a minute and rest for two, or race at a steady pace without stopping for an hour.
“Getting into a rhythm, like in, out, in, out, helps you to stay focused and the numbers go more where you want them to,” said Hay.
The women will also spend two hours a week lifting with conditioning coach Marcus Williams.
Though rowing is a full body workout, the team focuses on strengthening their legs and backs the most because that is where they drive their power. Williams guides them through sumo dead lifting, bench pressing, core work, leg and shoulder work.
Like most team sports, the rowers compete against each other. In practice they push to get the best time and earn a spot in the top varsity boat.
But when it comes time to race, getting the chemistry right and rowing in near perfect unison is pivotal to winning.
During winter training the team connects the ergs together to simulate rowing in one boat. This helps them practice their rhythm and timing with each other.
“Rarely are you in a boat by yourself, unless you have a single, so you have to learn how to either follow or how to lead in a boat and the timing has to be just right,” said Eldridge.