SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara women's rowing will celebrate the tradition of Black Velvet on Sat., Feb. 21 at the Lexington Reservoir. The celebration marks the beginning of the spring rowing season. This year at the boat blessing the Broncos will be dedicating a new 40th anniversary four, the "40th Anniversary 1974-2014" and a new pair, "The Duber." The Duber was named after Robert Dubcich who passed from thyroid cancer and is the reason Santa Clara women's rowing works to create awareness of thyroid cancer.
"The event was initiated by East Coast rowing teams, who spent their winters training indoors while the lake or river they trained on was frozen over, " explained Santa Clara head women's rowing coach John Wojtkiewicz. "The term 'black velvet' refers to the appearance of the water in early spring (usually dark and flat) when the ice finally breaks and crews can start venturing back out onto the water. The tradition celebrates a return to the water, an end of the somewhat dreary winter-indoor training and the beginning of the racing season."
The Broncos adopted this tradition in the earliest years of the program and it has been going strong ever since. While the team remains on the water year-round and the doldrums of winter-indoor training are minimal, the Broncos believe it is an important tradition, recognizing the six months of training the athletes have put in to prep for the racing season.
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