Tuesday evening, the entire Badger rowing program gathered for their annual ergometer relay at the Willows Bay temporary training facility; a.k.a The Tent. With exams looming in the not-so-distant future and the bulk of the fall training schedule under their belts, the five kilometer relay marks the end of the fall season and the brief self-actualized training period before winter training begins in January.
This event is particularly special because the Badger mens and womens rowing programs rarely practice together. This should come as no surprise as the entire rowing program, comprised of mens and womens novice and varsity teams, and womens novice and varsity lightweight teams, boasts in excess of one hundred athletes. However, this makes for interesting racing.
The relay is always a lot of fun, mused varsity assistant coach Ed Golding. It gives everyone a chance to get together one last time before exams and the holidays. But, he confessed, it can get a bit unwieldy. Thats why we only do it once a year.
Teams are made up of one varsity male rower, one novice male rower, one varsity openweight female rower, one novice openweight female rower, and one female lightweight rower, for a total of five. The trick to the relay is to equally divide the distance between all five rowers and coordinate the transitions on and off the rowing machine.
As the evening wore on and the snow began to slowly encroach underneath the tent walls, the din of anxious rowers cheering on their teammates, the incessant flapping of tent appendages, and the whir of the rowing machines reached a feverish pitch. With less than five hundred meters left in the race, little could be deciphered over the cacophony of sound.
In the end, the winning team, spearheaded by a rower from the varsity mens team operating under the pseudonym `Turbo, covered the 5km distance in 15 minutes and 21 seconds. The team was then awarded the Hammer Trophy (see photo of last year's event) in recognition of the accomplishment.
Both mens and womens teams now begin their break for exams and the holidays but will reconvene in early January in Austin, Texas and Cocoa Beach, Florida respectively for their winter training camps.