Jesuit Crew earlier this fall. Credit: Mark Landry

In mid-March, the rowing community was deeply disappointed to learn that the rest of the season had been cancelled due to Covid-19 preventative measures. The news crushed both the hope of a quick end to the pandemic and the opportunity to compete.

When the ‘end goal’ of an athletic season disappears, what motivation remains? What drives an athlete to continue training as though they were still going to compete? How can the team continue to be a community?

Maxwell Zirkman ’20 earlier this year at S.W.E.A.T.

Senior coxswain Maxwell Zirkman ’20 shared that, “Even though we are separated, during quarantine we have found ways to keep the team close and the spirit of Jesuit crew alive.”

Without day-to-day interactions in school and on the water, it can be difficult to stay in touch. But rowers know all too well when something is difficult, it is worth chasing. From intermittent Zoom check-ins, to live meetings during workouts, Jesuit crew is still bound together through work and solidarity.

For some members of the crew team, an online virtual challenge has proven to be the motivation behind their persistence. An event organized by Rower’s Choice, ‘March Mania’ seeks to reclaim the pain, the teamwork, and the glory that rowers across the country lost the opportunity to work towards.

The Event

March Mania organizes teams into a bracket system where winners progress to further rounds. Each round features a certain workout to be done on a static erg produced by Concept 2. While this system lacks the true sense of brotherhood felt on the water, it has helped in fostering a fiery competitive spirit within the rowing community.

Michael Curry ’21 going ham on the rig at home

The event saw 64 entries from both club and scholastic teams nationally. Organized into groups of 4, each team has the opportunity to race different types of challenges.

Teams pulled their best times for pieces ranging from 2,112 meters to 6,430 meters.

The specific distances mimic real life race courses; for example the Harvard-Yale Regatta is also a mile, or 6,430 meters long.

Rowers Ryan Boyle ’20, Michael Curry ’21, Nik Knapp ’21 and Ben Graass ’20 comprised the original group of four as the Jesuit A Boat. Mitch Villalba ’21 took Knapp’s place halfway through the competition due to illness.

Junior Rower Michael Curry ’21 had to say that, “quarantine has given me time to focus on the things that matter: family, academics, and training.”

So while everything is backwards at the moment, that doesn’t mean that the crew team can’t have some fun while we all get through it together.

Looking Forward

Thursday, April 16th’s challenge featured an all out 1,500 meter sprint. Jesuit Crew A Boat threw down against Sarasota Crew, placing second in the top eight round.

While it’s disappointing not to continue to the next round, reaching the sixth-best time against some of the fastest crews nationally was a true testament to the depth of the team. You can trace Jesuit’s match-ups and times using this website.

When asked on the team’s progress Coach Dam had a lot to say. Check it out here.

Stay tuned to The Roundup for more Jesuit Crew news!