Tabor Academy, in its waterfront location, is fortunate to have a crew program. This particular program is certainly unique and is one that continues to improve at Tabor Academy.
Students recently returned from spring break, during which many rowers traveled to Texas to participate in a pre-season program. While this is optional, most of the rowers go regardless of their experience with the sport. Even though the crew program has organized spring pre-season trips for many years, the Texas trip has just been occurring for the past five years and has proven to be very beneficial to the program. Training on Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, the rowers get much more experience rowing on the water than they would in Marion due to the warmer and more consistent conditions.
Back in Marion, the team has found the new crew facility at Tabor Academy to be a valuable asset. This space is attached to the Athletic Center and contains a rowing tank with two pools, where up to eight people can be rowing at a time. Girls’ Head Coach Emily Chandler has found the building to have significantly benefited the program already. The space is “unbelievable,” given that the crew team has never had a workout facility of its own. She finds that “the level of focus has gone up significantly for all of the athletes: coxswains and rowers” due to the limited distractions in the area.
Productivity has increased as well, now that rowers can see their technique in the mirrors on the wall – a quality typical on an erg room. The tank itself allows the athletes to mimic the strokes and is an ideal location for coaching. Rather than yelling into a megaphone from the water, Chandler finds that being more accessible to the rowers allows them to pick up on technique much faster. “The novices will be able to learn to row much more quickly, taking more strokes than they would be taking if they were rowing on the water,” says Chandler.
Bianca Miccolis, a freshman at Tabor Academy, is trying out crew for the first time. She has been learning to be a coxswain, or a steersman, over the last few weeks and is learning the complexity of this job. “The biggest challenge has been finding the best way to motivate a crew to be their best,” remarks Miccolis, who plans on continuing to participate in the crew program this season.
Before becoming a teacher and coach, Chandler attended Tabor Academy and rowed here herself. “The best part about coaching at Tabor after rowing here is having a working knowledge of the history of the program and seeing it as it rises to a higher level,” says Chandler of her experiences with the program.
Wyatt Genasci Smith is a junior and rower at Tabor. “Our team goals are the same every year, to finish the year with every rower faster, stronger and feeling accomplished from the season,” Genasci Smith says of the upcoming season. The new crew facility certainly adds to the building program and is sure to benefit all of the athletes. The seven coaches and both the girls’ and boys’ teams look forward to the upcoming season, hoping to medal at the championship in May.
By Julia O’Rourke