Jefferson Crew kicks off the on-water season


Jenny Chen

Novice rowers carry oars back into the boathouse after practice during the last on-water season.

Anjali Khanna, Entertainment Editor

For every member of Jefferson’s crew team, the arrival of the spring sports season doesn’t just mean that the sport officially begins. Instead, it means that they will get to do something that no other sport will ever get the chance to do: spend the afternoon every day at Sandy Run Regional Park sailing on the Occoquan River.

As winter training comes to a conclusion, the members of the Jefferson crew team will have the opportunity to leave behind the heated tent which had formerly been their home prior to the spring sports season. For nearly three months, many members of the team improved their rowing times by practicing after school on the ergometers, as well as by toning their muscles for the rowing season in the weight room.

“This is my first year doing winter training and I definitely feel I improved a lot,” junior Edith Zhang said. “I didn’t really notice any differences at first, but gradually I could see a drop in my ergometer splits when comparing the same pieces throughout the winter training.”

One of the first regattas that Jefferson crew will be participating in is the Polar Bear Regatta at Sandy Run Regional Park on March 29. Other regattas, including the Regional Park Regatta, Walter Mess Regatta and Darrell Winslow Regatta will take place on the following Saturdays. Before the regattas, the crew team will have several weeks to practice on and off the water at Sandy Run Regional Park.

“I’d like to get my 2k, a standard test piece, time down, because then I would have a better chance to get on a higher boat this season,” junior Luka Jelenak, a returner to Jefferson crew, said. “I was on a junior varsity boat last year, which I was the stroke seat on, and we had a really good season. I would really like to continue the success that we had last season into this season.”

Last rowing season, the Jefferson men’s varsity team advanced all the way to the National Championships of the Scholastic Rowing Association of America (NRAA). The men’s varsity upper boat placed 11th in the nation, but did not place in the finals. This year, the team hopes to go even further than the last, and place in the NRAA championships. The Jefferson crew program is also celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014.

“I’m most excited about getting into the swing of the season,” Zhang said. “I can’t wait for the feeling of being part of one unified boat that has stuck together, and feeling that unity during race pieces and seeing how we have improved since the start of the season.”