The harsh realities of winter crew

Adler Amolsch, Director of New Staff

The crew team never sleeps. 

Stepping into Jackson-Reed’s atrium during these peaceful winter months, with a warm cup of coffee in hand, you are often met with grunting rowers on the erg and music blasting in the back. Both tears and sweat fall onto the tile floor as small coxswains scream at their athletes to pull just a little more, all before the sun rises. 

Normal mornings for Tigers at Jackson-Reed don’t typically include this blissful feeling of competing for the fastest stroke per minute (split) or the relaxing music of EDM. Crew kids however can’t seem to get enough. 

For most rowers, mornings start around 5:30 a.m. as practice for all varsity teams begins at 6 and lasts till 8 a.m. On the days they are not practicing in the morning, miles of ergs appear in the cafeteria before the clock strikes 3:30. These practices consist of hour-long sprint sessions or steady state on a rowing machine (erg). 

Rowers are also generally expected to erg twice a day,. Hoping to get really fast for spring, and win the infamous champ title at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta, they are never found without DJ Diplo and their erg. 

Practice doesn’t end inside the walls of the atrium. Athletes continue to row on the pristine Potomac River twice a week, to top off all the fun. While most will be settling into their third cup of afternoon coco, take a moment to remember your fellow classmates catching pneumonia while rowing in -10 degree weather.  

If you get lucky, sometimes you can catch a crew kid in the wild, wiping their tears as they finish their third set of jumpies or jumping squats, while simultaneously doing their pre-calc homework. Keep an eye out for the crew kids of Jackson-Reed, they are hard to miss, typically averaging out to around 7 feet tall, decorated in Head of the Charles Regatta merch, soon to be colored in Stotes hoodies once taking home gold at the cup.

As we begin our upcoming trek into December, consider joining the niche sport this Winter. Let’s ignore the dysfunctional mechanics of the team and try to visualize the toasty morning rows on the Potomac to come.