Rowers gearing up for three regattas in fall semester with deepest roster in years
Liberty University’s crew team has 14 returning rowers and 17 newcomers this fall, many of whom discovered the program during a Cookies & Coffee event at the Hancock Welcome Center on Aug. 24, during Liberty’s “Welcome Week.”
“We started the year off with a little recruiting event during move-in week this year and that was really beneficial for our team to get out there and see the new folks coming into campus,” Head Coach Debbie Prowse said. “We have 31 on the roster now, the most since I’ve started here, so we’re looking forward to taking that big team into the spring and seeing what we can do.”
First this fall, select Flames and Lady Flames rowers will travel to three 5,000-meter regattas, starting with the Women’s Varsity 4 and Men’s Varsity 4 boats participating in the Oct. 21-23 Head of the Charles in Boston. Then, the team will host an Alumni Tailgate event for current and former rowers at the Nov. 5 Head of the Occoquan in Fairfax Station, Va., before concluding the fall schedule at the Nov. 11-12 Head of the South in Augusta, Ga.
“This team has become like a family to me,” sophomore rower Grace Sibert said. “I’m really excited to race varsity this season with some of my closest friends. I’m really excited to get back on the water and race.”
“Last year, it was a smaller team and a really tight-knit family,” fellow sophomore Jada Lane added. “This year, honestly, it feels like the same thing, just a bigger family. Some of the people have not rowed before. That’s how I was last year … but everyone is picking up really quickly.”
Junior Blake Mosshart said the added depth on the roster has allowed for more flexibility and a stronger dynamic within the boats’ lineups.
“It really just comes down to being in the boat on the water together and seeing who rows well together, who would row better with other people in different combinations throughout the lineup in the boat and doing seat racing to see who actually makes the boat fastest,” he said. That way, we can see who is going to be the best lineup for races to be the most successful that we can be.”
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, the team rows out of its boathouse near Mitchell’s Point Marina in Huddleston on Smith Mountain Lake, with alternate practice days spent out of its new Olympic Training Center in Candlers Station.
“We have a pretty heavy training schedule,” Siebert said. “We’re putting in a lot of meters, starting to get up to race pace, hitting what we need to hit for that. Tuesdays and Thursdays we’re in the erg room just working on a little bit of lighter work but weights as well. We’re getting stronger in the weight room so it translates onto the water.”
Video by Olivia Bergen and Kylee Lilge/Club Sports Video & Media Coordinator