University rowing club gears up for a new season

Many students from Carnegie Mellon took off to glamorous vacation spots over spring break to kick back and relax; the University Rowing Club stormed Aiken, South Carolina to bring its spring training to a close and prepare for the competitions awaiting them back at school.
The crew team began spring training immediately following winter break. Led by head coach Donald Webber-Plank, novice coach Lee Kulinna, and assistant varsity coach Benjamin Althof, the team did land training during the week and went to the Allegheny River on the weekends.
Land training took place at Skibo Gymnasium where the entire team used erg machines to train for rowing on the water. The erg machines keep track of time and distance traveled; without them, land training would be near impossible. On the weekends, the team would take to the river and train on its fleet of Kaschper Racing Shells.
?There is a general feeling that we don?t do it recreationally,? said first-year Erika Shelver. ?Technically [rowing] is a club sport, but we definitely don?t compete like one.?
After training all winter, the team?s hard work paid off when members ventured onto the water at their first competition, the Murphy Cup Regatta, this past weekend.
The day began a little overcast, but by the afternoon there were a few rays of sun hitting the rowers; the water stayed flat the entire day. The men?s team was led by junior Jared Deible and the women?s team was led by junior Stephanie Busi.
The team did a fantastic job at its first race of the season; it was many of the novice rowers? first race ever. In the men?s pair, a sculling competition?two rowers each with a pair of oars, brought home the gold with a 7:28.30. The two rowers who competed in the race were junior stroke Gary Feigenbaum and senior Paul Harvin.
The Men?s Varsity Lightweight 8+, an eight-man team with each rower weighing less than 145 pounds, pulled through in second with a time of 6:32.44, losing only to St. Joe?s, the Dad Vail finalist from last year.
The Women?s Varsity Lightweight Four, a lightweight four-woman team, came in a close third at 7:50.62 (only 0.55 seconds behind second). The Women?s Varsity 8+ received fourth, coming in at 7:20.73.
The Men?s Novice 4+ pulled through with a great 8:07.57 in their heat and the Women?s Novice 8+ rowed a 7:50.80. The Men?s Varsity 8+ rowed a 6:41.88 and the Men?s Varsity 4+ rowed 7:05.16, beating both Duquesne and the University of Pittsburgh.
Dreible was enthusiastic about the team?s performance. ?We?ve gotten more competitive since I started.... It?s really a good experience to lead such a dedicated team.?
Plank said, ?I am very pleased to see our strong efforts over winter conditioning and spring training resulting in strong race performances. The team performed well for their first race of the season, and for some of the novice rowers, their first race ever.? All enjoyed a great day of racing.?
Not only did this regatta give the team a good idea of how well their training had paid off, but it also let the rowers get a look at the course that will be used in the National Championship in six weeks.
?We went there with the goal not to win, but to get nice experience,? said Shelver.
There are four races left in the remainder of the season: the University Athletic Association Regatta on April 3 in Indianapolis, the Governor?s Cup Regatta on April 24 in Charleston, WV, the MidAtlantic Sprints on May 2 in Fairfax, VA, and the Dad?s Vail Regatta on May 7 in Philadelphia.
For further information and updates on the crew team, visit