Of the many club sports offered by Portland State University, one of them is lengths ahead of the rest. Crew has been a staple at colleges around the nation for many years, but has only been offered as a club sport at PSU for about five years, according to Stedman Burroughs, crew secretary.
This hasn’t hindered the program’s success, however. According to Burroughs, the Portland State crew team only participates in one or two regattas, which is the rowing term for a race, during the fall. However, this year, the hardened rowers will race five fall regattas, most taking place in Seattle, Wash. with one in Victoria, British Columbia.
The majority of the fall regattas will be head races, which means the race start times will be staggered so that teams will be racing against their own times. Also, the fall races tend to be 3,000 to 7,000 meters long, which is further than the spring races, which usually all are less than 3,000 meters.
Being a club sport, crew doesn’t hold prolonged practices, and it is open to just about anyone, granted they be in decent shape, according to Burroughs. In fact, next week is novice week, and is open for any able-bodied men or women who would like to participate in crew.
Novice week offers an opportunity for newcomers to the sport to get some practice and training time in with the more experienced returning rowers. Practices during the week will begin between 5:45 and 6 a.m. and will last for about an hour.
“We work pretty hard,” Burroughs said. The Crew team is encouraging anyone who wants to row to come out and participate.
This year, five women and five men will return to row for the PSU team. Altogether, there will be about 12 active rowers on the team, according to Burroughs.
“It’s a really great team this year,” Burroughs said. “It’s really been a lot of fun.”
Besides grueling early-morning practices, most of the crew team worked out this summer in preparation for the upcoming season. All their hard work will be rewarded with a break this winter and hopefully a few wins.
According to Burroughs, the team usually places in the top three in their regatta competitions. And though the teams enjoy the competition, it’s all about having fun.
The crews’ next regatta will be Nov. 3 at the Lake Oswego Boat House. The race will take the rowers all the way to the finish at Oaks Park.