March 29, 2002

Crew Teams Kick Off 2002 Season

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Tomorrow morning, the women’s and heavyweight men’s crews will head down to Cayuga Inlet for their first races of the season. The women rowers will square off against Georgetown and George Washington while the heavies battle Michigan.

Heavyweight head coach Dan Roock is anticipating a solid first performance after a promising fall season.

“I think we’re better prepared this year than in past years,” said Roock.

If all goes well, months of speculation will be vindicated when the adrenaline of race day pushes the crew into full-throttle.

“The exciting thing about the first race is that I haven’t seen the guys act under pressure,” said Roock. “I’m looking forward to watching the guys go after it,” he added.

Yet if all goes according to plan, the rowers won’t be performing at their peak. For their first races of the season, the team is hoping for consistent performances that can serve as building blocks. The higher cadences and speeds will come as the men settle into the season and line-ups are solidified.

“I don’t expect us to be able to row at the cadence that will give us an incredible time,” said Roock. “We’ve been looking at the season as a progression. We want to peak at the end of the season.”

Women’s head coach Melanie Onufrieff is approaching tomorrow’s races with a similar attitude.

“First and foremost, we want to win. But we also want solid rowing,” said Onufrieff.

Like the men, the women have benefited from a little extra time on the water.

“We’ve been on the water for a long time — long enough to get us where we need to be at this point in the season. We’re at a pretty good starting place,” Onufrieff said.

With Georgetown as a bit of an unknown, Onufrieff has been meditating on the George Washington squad. Cornell and GW traditionally square off for the first race of the spring season. And up until last year, it was also tradition for the GW women to leave with the varsity champion title.

“They’ll be tough. The GW race has always been a battle,” said Onufrieff.

Archived article by Meredith Long