Cold winds over the Saugatuck River during the winter months cause the river to freeze over, which forces members of the Saugatuck Rowing team to relocate inside the club for everyday training.
“Obviously we have to take the water out of our training everyday, so the girls are indoors everyday working on the erg or doing weight circuits. We also go up to Yale sometimes to use their indoor rowing tanks.” head coach of the Novice girls’ rowing team, Mike O’Hara, said.
Varsity girls' eight take advantage of Yale University's rowing tanks
With the boats tucked away for the winter, both the girls’ and boys’ teams have to adjust to different workouts to stay in shape and prepare for their upcoming spring racing season. These workouts are typically specific to helping the rowers prepare for being in the boat, according to Novice rower Anna Coleman ’20.
“In the winter it is more core training and building your strength and technique to bring into the boats once we are ready to hit the water again.” Coleman said.
Saugatuck girls' working on the erg this winter season
Sitting with the rowers in the boat during the racing season is also the coxswain, who’s training also changes in the winter while the girls are no longer in boats, but instead working out in a gym.
“My goal as a coxswain is always to encourage my boat to go as fast as possible. In the winter, even though my girls aren’t all in one boat, I still have to do my best to make them work as hard as they can.” varsity lightweight eight coxswain Eden Schumer ’18 said.
With a successful fall season for the rowers at Saugatuck, they are hoping for an even better spring racing season. “We have a real strong group of rowers heading into this upcoming season. We are returning a national championship boat at the varsity level, both the lightweight eight and the varsity eight." Coach O’Hara said.
Girls' varsity eight and lightweight eight last year after wining the national championship in New Jersey
The spring season for the Saugatuck Rowing club will officially begin on April 1 and 2 at the San Diego Crew Classic. Rowers will have to remain inside for training until the river thaws, which typically takes place in mid March.
“There’s a saying that goes you collect your medals in the winter," Schumer said, "and you earn them in the spring, so we are working to collect as many of these medals as we can.”