Although the creek running behind Jesuit hardly constitutes a major body of water, hundreds of rowers descended on the Terry Center on a chilly Saturday morning for the annual Jesuit S.W.E.A.T. regatta.
The SouthWest Ergometer Amateur Tournament, which took place on February 4th, featured 34 of the region’s best crew clubs, as over 500 student athletes competed to post the best virtual times, measured by how hard they could pull on an ergometer, an indoor rowing machine equipped to simulate the effect of rowing a real boat.
The Ranger crew team, in their first competition in the calendar year, won the Men’s Team competition for the sixth time in the history of the event. “As a senior, it was exciting to keep the trophy and leave a legacy of winning three out of four times at S.W.E.A.T.,” said Parker Allen ’17.
Christian Le Doux ’17, who recently signed with the University of California, Berkeley, finished 4th in the junior 1x race. “Although I am disappointed with my own personal performance,” said LeDoux, “I thought the team as a whole did exceptionally well and I am excited to test you speed on the water.”
Ethan Bandiera ’19 commented, “there were some ups and downs, and I think it’s a good start to the spring season.”
“I think we started the coming season on the right foot,” added Logan Edelmann ’18.
The freshman members of the team made major contributions, with Matthew Sorensen ’20 winning gold and Wyatt Garrett ’20 picking up bronze in the freshman 1x, and the sweep of 2nd through 5th place in the lightweight freshman competition.
“The whole team benefitted greatly from the freshman performance this weekend,” said Michael Hornung ’18.
The Roundup sat down with Coach Fife for his thoughts on the event:
TR: Was the performance in line with the previous years?
CF: This year was in line with previous years. This year we were stronger in the heavyweight category than the lightweight category. In the past we have been stronger with the lightweight group. This year, our freshman squad were particularly dominant.
TR: Has this event continued to grow in popularity?
CF: I’d say the event’s popularity remains constant. We see ebbs and flows each year in different categories. The largest contingent remains high school aged boys and girls events.
TR: Who are some of the big name programs who show up?
CF: Besides Jesuit, the big programs that come are OKC Riversport, Dallas United Crew, Tulsa Youth Rowing, Texas A&M, plus many of our local schools like Ursuline, Hockaday, ESD.
TR: Does any other Texas school or school within the region host similar events?
CF: There are other smaller ones. For example, the Texas Erg Rodeo is on February 18th hosted by University of Texas, but generally hosts far fewer rowers and clubs than SWEAT. SWEAT is also the only “qualifier” in our region for the Indoor Rowing World Championships held in Boston on February 12th.
TR: How does the performance on the machine align with performance on the water? How much of a correlation is there?
CF: That’s the $100,000,000 question. There are lots of people who say “ergs don’t float” meaning one’s ability to go fast on the erg does not mean they can move a boat just as well. I do not subscribe to that theory entirely. I believe having fast scores on the erg is critical for having fast boats. I don’t think you can make boats go fast without speed and power which can easily be measure by the erg machine. But in order for it to translate to real speed, we need to teach the rowing stroke properly on the water.