SANTA CLARA, Calif. - On a team made up of almost all freshmen and sophomores, Santa Clara women's rowing will open its season at the San Diego Crew Classic on Sat., Mar. 31. With nine months of training completed, the Broncos are ready to finally get on the water and compete with other teams.
"I think there is a lot of nervous excitement," said Santa Clara head coach John Wojtkiewicz. "Because the team is so young there is a lot of enthusiasm to test themselves against some competition and see what they can do. In 16 years of coaching, this is by far the most universally enthusiastic group I've worked with and I think that has a lot to do with their youth. Each day we get closer to our first race, they are attacking the workouts with more and more gusto."
Even though the race isn't for over a week, the team has begun to transition from a training mindset to a more race-oriented one. Now that they have worked and worked at their technique, the rowers will be trying to put all that they have learned into practice and use the race as a stepping stone to reach their goals for the season.
"Our training is effectively over," continued Wojtkiewicz. "Once we begin racing, we're out of all of our training phases. We may pick up some speed with refinement and rowing more consistent lineups, but for the most part the training happens over the first nine months of the year. During the final six weeks, which is starting right now, we're focused on utilizing that training towards our competitive goals. That being said, the competitive season can actually be a little less load and a little less volume. We're focused purely on speed, speed and more speed. We are trying to go as fast as we can in all things we do, bring in a taper here and there and try to peak for the WCC Championships."
The first race of the season will not be one that Santa Clara can take lightly and simply look to get the rust of winter off with. The Broncos know they must come ready to compete from the start.
"The San Diego Crew Classic is super competitive and it certainly will be a baptism of fire for these athletes," added Wojtkiewicz. "For example, freshmen coxswain Maggie Jones '15, while she is the most natural novice coxswain I've ever worked with, will be on a buoyed course, with a stake boat, lining up against six other crews for the first time. It's a pretty dynamic environment to step into for the first time."