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Western men’s rowing launches new season

The club’s national placement in spring hopes to propel the crew team to success once again

The Western Washington men's rowing club practices just after sunrise on Oct. 8, 2022 on Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, Wash. The team meets for early morning practices six days a week. // Photo courtesy of Samuel Bloom

Western men’s rowing is back on the water and looking to compete after medaling at the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta in May. 

The club brought both gold and bronze medals back to Bellingham in the spring. Being the first national placements in club history, it was a major triumph and motivator for the Western men’s crew team. 

After a summer off, the club hopes their victories last spring will propel their performance forward this season. 

“We ended off last season in a really good place,” said Samuel Bloom, varsity coxswain and club social media manager. “We're really hoping to carry that momentum into our fall racing and then into the spring.” 

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Western men’s crew glide through the glassy waters of Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, Wash., on Oct. 6, 2022. The team is starting up practices again in late September after a summer hiatus. // Photo courtesy of Samuel Bloom

Varsity crew began practice in mid-September in preparation for upcoming fall regattas and future tournaments in the spring. 

Their first event was the Head of the Lake regatta on Nov. 6, which historically includes boats from all around the West Coast, including the University of Washington, Stanford and the University of Oregon. 

Universities view the event as less competitive and more casual than spring regattas, though Western plans on competing and displaying their speed to other programs.

Come Nov. 6, varsity coach and Western alumni Nick Jensen hopes to set their eight-man boat season record.

“Our goal is to get the fastest time we've ever posted,” Jensen said. “Have a race that we're happy with and that we're proud of.” 

Western sophomore and varsity rower, Ryan Mueller, views the upcoming regatta as an introduction and starting point for their tournaments in the spring of 2023. 

“This will help us set up some goals for the spring and see what we're looking like to help us guide the training during winter,” Mueller said.

For the varsity crew, the Head of the Lake regatta is an event to show their speed for the spring, though, for the club's novices acquired in late September, it's an introduction to the world of rowing. 

An integral part of the club is the process of recruiting and training inexperienced novices. Most first-time club members have never rowed before, the fall season is a time for learning and development. 

“It's a great experience to be able to see these new guys learning what we love to do,” Mueller said. “All the varsity guys have been able to help guide them through that.”

With early morning practices six days a week and weight lifting in the afternoon, the learning curve for novices can be steep. However, more experienced varsity rowers offer assistance to the new team members. 

“They help me and the other novices in navigating crew and getting used to the whole routine,” said Hugo Pizarro, a freshman and rowing novice. 

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Viking men’s rowers stroke the Lake Whatcom waters during a routine practice on Oct. 8, 2022 in Bellingham, Wash. The eight-man boats are filled with varsity rowers in their second year and beyond with the Western crew. // Photo courtesy of Samuel Bloom

The fall season for Western's crew is a time to integrate the novices and mix and match varsity boats to test their speed. 

“Once we get to spring racing, we have lineups pretty set up,” Mueller said. “We know what's going to be the fastest lineup and they're gonna row together every day.”

After the Nov. 6 regatta, the club moves into the winter training season with an idea of the varsity and novice lineups that will race once spring tournaments begin. 

With their spring success in the rearview, Western men’s rowing wants to go for it once more come the spring 2023 season. 

“We can see that goal there in the distance,” Mueller said. “We want to go back to Nationals and we'd like to bring back a medal again.”

Jack Glenn

Jack Glenn (he/him) is a copy editor for The Front this quarter. He began working at the Front in the spring of 2022 as a sports reporter. 

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