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Liberty News

Men's and women's crew club teams start up

May 7, 2009 : Eric Brown

The men's and women's crew teams work out on rowing machines in the upper level of LU's LaHaye Ice Center.

As the list of recreational activities at Liberty University continues to grow, members of the university’s newest club sport are testing the waters in preparation for competitions this fall.

Since forming in March, LU’s men’s and women’s crew teams have been training four days each week in hopes of rowing against established clubs such as James Madison University, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and North Carolina.

“The students are out here working hard every day,” said Mark Furler, the club’s coach. “There is a definite dedication and focus to getting the team started.”

An experienced rower and alumnus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., Furler brings a wealth of knowledge to the startup program, having competed in some of the largest rowing meets in the country. Along with Furler, the teams are also coached by Ashley McCowen Botterill. A graduate and former coach at Princeton University, Botterill helped the Tigers capture an NCAA title in 1997.

“We definitely have coaches who know what they’re doing,” freshman Brittany Tedder said.

Mark Furler (standing at top right) instructs the teams during practice.

“It’s just a matter of us getting trained,” sophomore Peter Crosley added. “We’re hoping to hit the ground running and go as far as we can go in our first year.”

LU’s teams will travel to various rowing meets, known as regattas. They will compete in 6,000-meter races during the fall before transitioning to 2,000-meter events in the spring.

Although the technique may look simple, crew is a rigorous sport that works the entire body. LU crew members are now undergoing a variety of workouts in and out of the water. Thanks to a recent donation, students are able to use LU’s Ivy Lake for training. When not on the lake, the athletes practice on the upper level of LU’s LaHaye Ice Center on rowing machines called ergs. Designed to simulate the fundamentals of rowing, the machines also allow rowers to keep track of their time and distance.

“You get out on the water and you think it’s going to be like an erg and it’s not,” Crosley said. “It’s been an experience, though. We definitely have a lot of enthusiasm on the team.”

Tedder added, “It’s been a lot of fun. Everyone shows up and puts forth the effort, so I think we’ll be really good next fall.”


Crew is just one facet of Liberty’s Ultimate LU campaign, an initiative that enhances club sports and campus recreation. For more information about the university’s newest club sport, email Mark Furler at

Ivy Lake, Forest, Va.





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