Know your crew

The Portland State Crew Club has just two more regattas before they take the boats off the water.  Crew, an active club sport that involves rowing practices three times a week before the sun comes up, is what second-year team member and current club president Cassy Whitaker describes as “the ultimate team sport.”

The Portland State Crew Club has just two more regattas before they take the boats off the water.  Crew, an active club sport that involves rowing practices three times a week before the sun comes up, is what second-year team member and current club president Cassy Whitaker describes as “the ultimate team sport.”

The club trains fall and spring, with indoor training during the winter. Their best performance in the fall season was at the Head of the Lake regatta in Seattle, where PSU saw a third place finish behind two University of Washington boats.

In the Dexter Lake regatta this spring in Lowell, Ore., PSU entered two men’s eight-person boats and a women’s four-person boat. All three of PSU’s boats took second place finishes.

Crew is a team effort. PSU competes in boats of four or eight athletes. The PSU team competes in a sweep technique, meaning they hold one oar. Competitions in the spring are composed of six lane courses. In the fall headraces, there are no lanes.

Events are divided by gender, amount of people in the boat, and whether they are considered novice— a title they can hold for one year of competition.

The coxswain, who is in charge of steering, maneuvers the boat and the race starts out with the athletes hitting small quick strokes.

Whitaker said that the sport is largely a technique sport and it can take years to completely understand the technique.

“It can be a month even before you feel like you are getting a workout, and really understanding the resistance,” she said.

Because the team is at the club level, the teammates change throughout the year, but Whitaker said that the current team is very close. Jokingly, she said “I mean you have to have a connection with your teammates to get to practice by 5:30 [a.m.] three days a week.”

The team has just two regattas left in the spring season. The Hagg Lake regatta in Oregon is on April 24. Then the team heads to Sacramento for the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships at Lake Natoma. This regatta will consist of Saturday heats and Sunday finals.

The team has a very welcoming atmosphere. Whitaker said they love to have new athletes coming into the scene. They will be holding a “Learning to Row” day in May.

For more information and specific dates and times, interested individuals can contact the coordinators of the crew team at [email protected]