For the rowing team, more growth leads to success

The rowing team has seen growth and success in the last 30 years. (credit: Courtesy of CMU Athletics) The rowing team has seen growth and success in the last 30 years. (credit: Courtesy of CMU Athletics)

30 years after their premier at Carnegie Mellon, the rowing team has won more medals than any other season in its history. As the team has grown from only two rowing shells to 16, they have pushed to continue growing both their size and list of accomplishments, which currently includes formerly having an Olympian on the team.

The rowing team has pushed to meet its newly set goals during their six main regattas of the year, which range from the Head of the Ohio in October to the Head of the Charles. Thus far senior materials science and engineering major, president, and captain of the men’s rowing team, Eric Peet, set a personal goal of medaling in the four category at one of our three regattas and placed third during their fall regatta in Pittsburgh.

Peet said, “Our goals every season are to grow in size and become more competitive with top programs. We have met these goals with a high novice retention rate and more medals this season than in any other season in recent memory, including medals for the women’s varsity four and the men’s novice four at the Head of the Occoquan, something we hadn’t previously accomplished in my time on the team.”

To continue on this path of success, the captains —Peet and senior economics major, treasurer, and women’s team captain Jenny Son — have attempted to strengthen the bond between members to increase retention to avoid the team shrinking once again. Peet believes that although bonding and a dedicated mindset has helped retain players, coach Aly Zombeck deserves most of the credit for increasing the size of the team. Her coaching methods have encouraged the team to improve their skills and to take any opportunity to compete against other teams.

“Coach Aly does her best to give every member of the team a chance to race, but this isn’t always possible due to the set sizes of the boats or racing schedule conflicts,” said Son.

Outside of their regularly scheduled regattas, the team stays active in the community. Each January they participate in the Pittsburgh Erg Sprints, a race between local rowing clubs on rowing machines as opposed to on the water. They are also planning a fundraiser for the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital this coming February; the event will be on Carnegie Mellon’s campus and will allow community members to pledge money to a rower on the team per kilometer they are able to row in six hours.

The team typically accepts players within the first few weeks of the fall or spring semesters. New players do not need experience but will be asked to pay $200 dues for their first semester and $300 each following semester to cover registration, transportation, equipment, and housing for practices and/or races. Practice is on the Allegheny River in the fall and spring and starts at 5:30 a.m. In the winter, practice is in Skibo Gymnasium at 5:30 or 6 a.m.

The rowing team is extremely proud of its progress over the past three decades and hopes to continue their trend of growth and success in the coming years.

Peet said, “The thing that is the most special to me about rowing is the group of people on the team: we all have busy lives outside of rowing with schoolwork, jobs, and other activities, but we are all able to come together for a couple hours every day to try to make our boats go faster. Each one of us could be sleeping from 5-7 a.m. instead of sweating in Skibo or out on the Allegheny, but we put the time in because we want to get faster both for ourselves and for the rest of the rowers in our boat.”