Rowers take to the water for first practices at Smith Mountain Lake as weather warms
The 22 members of Liberty University’s men’s and women’s crew teams hit the water for their first outdoor practice of the spring semester on Monday out of their boathouse at Smith Mountain Lake.
“We are super excited to be back on the water and to break up the monotony of our winter indoor training,” said Head Coach Debbie Prowse, who sent out men’s and women’s Novice 8 boats on the opening day. “We had a beautiful first day on the water, with temperatures in the mid-30s, no wind, and a beautiful sunrise. With the time change (March 13) and the weather, spring is coming, and temperatures will be rising pretty quickly.”
They hold rowing workouts on the lake three to four days per week in addition to indoor erg and weight training sessions two days per week out of the Liberty Club Sports Complex space they now share with the men’s and women’s cycling teams.
“It is nice with a new facility because we can go in, do our erg training on one half of the room, lay out our yoga mats on the other half and do our yoga stretching, and walk directly across the hall into the weight room,” Prowse said. “Sharing it with cycling, we practice in the morning, they go in the afternoon, with our ergs and their stationary cycling machines spread out in one half of the room, it makes for a really nice space.”
The Flames, who added junior Clayton Allred to their roster, and the Lady Flames will train for their upcoming spring regatta schedule at Smith Mountain Lake over Spring Break from March 13-18, when they will have two-a-day workouts on the water.
After Monday’s first practice on the lake, Prowse noted that the team had 25 more practices before its first scheduled regatta, the Waterfield Cup hosted by Virginia Tech at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin, Va., set for April 2. The following week, on April 9, the team will travel to the North Carolina Championships, the only race it competed in last year, hosted by High Point University.
Over Easter weekend on April 15-16, the Flames and Lady Flames will compete in the Southern Intercollegiate Regatta Association (SIRA) Championships on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Those races determine qualifications for the May 20-22 American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships back in Oak Ridge.
Club-level rowers across the United States were granted two extra years of eligibility and are able to maintain their novice rowing status through this season if they joined their respective college teams in 2020 or 2021.
“We have a whole team of novices right now,” Prowse said. “Because of COVID and having to go under quarantine sometimes, training was interrupted, so it is nice that they were given that allowance. For races this spring, we will probably break them down into one Varsity 4 and Novice 4 (for both men’s and women’s boats) and combine those two 4s into one Novice 8. We will possibly also enter men’s and women’s doubles and singles, but we won’t start rowing in small boats until the water warms up significantly.”
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer