Teamwork on the Water: SNC CREW


For some, the Fox River is a river with questionable green muck, but for the St. Norbert College Crew, it is their playing field. In collaboration with the La Baie Verte Rowing Club of Green Bay, SNC Crew is able to practice and compete on many different levels during part of the spring season and the majority of the fall.

Some people may have no clue about rowing, and they might just watch it during the summer Olympics or think it is just a bunch of people rowing a skinny boat. But it is much more than that.

Rowing is not a new thing. In fact, it was one of the first original sports in the modern Olympic Games. The shell, or the boat, can have up to eight people inside, including the coxswain, who does not row but gives directions to the rowers. This sport is all about concentration and synchronization. Great rowing is about gliding at a consistent pace, being one with the oar and boat.

For the crew, equipment includes not turf, hardwood or sand but rather a 200-pound, 60-foot fiberglass composite boat, an oar per person and sheer physical strength. The crew team of St. Norbert consists of a women’s eight, women’s four and men’s four. These boats have eight women and a coxswain in one boat, while the others consists of four people in each boat with a coxswain, respectively.

Getting out on the Fox River is the number one priority during practices, and no time is wasted. A normal practice consists of sending out three different boats. There is a set of women’s four that is the more experienced rowers, a women’s eight that is the novice rowers and a men’s four of novice rowers.

While the coaches are riding around in a motor boat and giving direction, the team goes up and down the Fox River, working on rowing techniques and speed consistency.

Rowing is about much more than using upper body strength. Rowing is an intellectual game, and the team and coxswain have to know the immediate situation but also the oncoming length of the race.

Mariah McGregor ’17, the coxswain for the women’s four team, said, “It is such a different kind of intellectual thinking, different from classroom thinking.”

The team needs to think and communicate when to slow down, speed up or glide right through the finish line. The crew does not rely on one or two players to carry the team; they rely on every single person to be in sync with each other and the water.

As the sun sets on the day, members of the SNC Crew drop their boats into the Fox River to launch for a nightly practice. As they meticulously get into their positions, there is a sense of teamwork and of freedom among them, the boat and the river.

The SNC Crew members and coaches invite you all to the campus regatta, Tail of the Fox, on Sunday, Oct. 4, right on the Fox River. The regatta is a head race in which the teams do not all start at the same line but instead start bow to bow, with each team launching ten seconds behind the other. This regatta tests the teams on sheer strength and time.

Tail of the Fox is expecting over 100 boats and 300 individuals ready to compete on Sunday morning.  Teams will start two-and-a-half miles south of campus and will finish in front of the Campus Center. Competitors are from all levels: Master, Collegiate, High School/Junior and Novice. This event starts at 9 a.m. and lasts all day.



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