Though still a few days away from getting back on the water, the men’s heavyweight crew team appears ready for one of the program’s busiest spring seasons ever after an extensive winter training regimen.
‘“We’re anxious to get back on the water,” said head coach Dan Roock. “We have a good group and we raced more this spring than we ever have. … We’re just excited to get going.”
Beginning with a race against Trinity on Lake Cayuga a little over two weeks from now, the Red will compete at least eight different times this spring.
‘“We start facing competition earlier than normal this spring,” Roock said. “We’re hoping that experience will push us early on and, eventually, make us better down the line.”
An impressive eleven-member senior class — including senior Commodore Brian Allsopp — should set the tone for Cornell this season. However, with plenty of talent among the junior and sophomore classes as well, Roock expects to have a nice mix of age in his top boats.
‘“What’s good about this team is that we have balance between our classes,” he said. “We’ll definitely look to our seniors for some leadership, but we expect to have two-to-three seniors, two-to-three juniors and two-to-three sophomores in our top boat.”
In fact, Roock believes his team’s depth will be one of its most important strengths heading into the racing season. With so many rowers possessing the power to get into the top varsity boat, he described that its very much up in the air as to who will end up in that eight.
“Its as wide open as its ever been, but that’s a good thing. It means we have more good guys this year,” Roock said. “Because of that we have a real desire to get on the water and see which group of guys works best together. … It’s very much a trial and error process and it takes time to work on it.”
Cornell’s depth also suggests that its second varsity eight should not be much slower than the team’s top boat.
‘“Our strength is in our depths,” said Roock. “We have more guys with raw speed this year. … Our second boat should be very competitive.”
Besides priding itself on its depth, the Red should also be heartened by its strong fall rowing season and successful winter training as it heads into its spring schedule. Competing in four races this past fall, Cornell steadily improved as the season went along.
‘“It was an encouraging racing season,” Roock said. “We got better and better. We were in the middle of the pact at the [Head of the Charles] and then put two boats in the top-six at the [Princeton Chase]. No one else did that — I think it was a testament to our depth.”