The Highlander

Crew conditioning powers through winter

McLean rowers do not take the season off

On+a+Monday+afternoon%2C+the+McLean+Men%27s+Crew+team+brings+the+ergs+into+the+cafeteria+to+perform+pieces.+Today%2C+they+are+doing+continuous+rowing+in+25+minute+pieces+to+increase+endurance.%0A%0A%0APhoto+by+Sebastian+Jimenez
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Crew conditioning powers through winter

On a Monday afternoon, the McLean Men's Crew team brings the ergs into the cafeteria to perform pieces. Today, they are doing continuous rowing in 25 minute pieces to increase endurance.


Photo by Sebastian Jimenez

On a Monday afternoon, the McLean Men's Crew team brings the ergs into the cafeteria to perform pieces. Today, they are doing continuous rowing in 25 minute pieces to increase endurance. Photo by Sebastian Jimenez

On a Monday afternoon, the McLean Men's Crew team brings the ergs into the cafeteria to perform pieces. Today, they are doing continuous rowing in 25 minute pieces to increase endurance. Photo by Sebastian Jimenez

On a Monday afternoon, the McLean Men's Crew team brings the ergs into the cafeteria to perform pieces. Today, they are doing continuous rowing in 25 minute pieces to increase endurance. Photo by Sebastian Jimenez

Sebastian Jimenez, Opinions Editor

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Few, if any, high school sports have an entire season dedicated solely to arduous conditioning and improvement of technique. Rowing’s winter season is six days a week and two and a half hours a day of challenging and at times extreme cardio that is intended to improve the athletes’ aerobic and anaerobic capacities, as well as their form when they finally get on the water in spring. Sometime around February, they get to use their painstakingly achieved skills in various rivers against other teams.

“Winter conditioning is all about going into spring as physically fit and mentally strong as possible,” said senior Paul Fabrycky, a four-year rower who was captain of the team their last season.

Without the use of any sort of boat during the winter, members of the team use indoor rowing machines – ergometers, or “ergs,” as they are colloquially called – to complete pieces based on time or distance. Workouts can be up to 90 minutes or six kilometers in length for a single sitting; that is, without getting off the machine. However, these factors are cumulative, meaning that their total workouts for the day rarely consist of just these previously mentioned numbers.

“It’s to really set the stage and the tone for the spring season, we have a lot of guys on the team who want to be prepared and excel. Winter training really affords them that opportunity to get ahead of the curve,” varsity McLean Crew coach Nathan McClafferty said.

Ultimately, the team will be divided into boats consisting of eight rowers each, placing a massive emphasis on teamwork and the ability to work effectively within a larger process. As a result, the required cooperation as well as mental and physical trials of the season bring the team closer together.

“The guys working hard together makes a bond that carries through racing season,” Fabrycky said.

The McLean Crew Club has also enjoyed significant amounts of success in past, recent seasons. The positive results of the winter conditioning can be seen firsthand.

“After the Men’s 1V [boat with fastest rowers] won [state championships] last year, the standard has risen significantly and the goal this year is to sweep [state championships] in the 1V, 2V and 3V [category],” Fabrycky said.

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