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Home Sports Crew Coach Dam Reflects on the 2019-2020 Rowing Season

Coach Dam Reflects on the 2019-2020 Rowing Season

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Coach Dam Reflects on the 2019-2020 Rowing Season
One of the last practices of 2020. Credit: Mark Landry

A Different Perspective

The previous Jesuit Crew post broke the news that the rest of the season was canceled. The purpose was to show how the team, as student-athletes, adapted to this sudden change. The purpose of this article is to gain insight into the issue from Coach Dam’s perspective.

Coach started off the interview addressing the cancellation, saying that, “One of the hardest things I have had to experience as a coach was having to tell the senior class that the spring season was canceled.”

In previous years, spring races had not only the opportunity for fame, but chances to continue racing internationally. In 2016, Jesuit Crew placed second nationally at Stotesbury Regatta and was then able to compete at Henley Royal Regatta in England. Corona-virus measures have removed both events from the calendar this year.

It can be difficult coming to terms with the fact that it’s over. Coach Dam continues, “This spring was supposed to be a culmination of the knowledge and experience we have gained together and the thousands of miles we have trained over the last three years.”

Looking on the bright side of things, Coach remarks that “We can still look back on many great achievements earned and memories made.”

Season Results

The team last fall on the way to Boston.

Training is a year-round task for rowers, but regattas typically only happen in the fall and spring. Coach Dam reflects, “We had great results at Head of the Charles in the fall,” referencing the 9th and 10th place finishes for the 4+ and 8+ entries, respectively.

Out of more than 80 other competitors, these results were program-best finishes. Being within the top ten that early in the season had left the team hoping for an even better spring.

Coach Dam says, “We were one of the fastest scholastic teams in the country and we were excited to prove it with the racing schedule we had set.”

To ensure such success later in the year, the crew team took daily practices and overtime seriously. Coach Dam adds, “In rowing, it isn’t racing that teaches you the most, it is the daily grind.”

Between AM lift sessions and two hour-long practices in the PM, the team was well acquainted with the grind. Increasing physical strength and cardio endurance is one thing, doing all of that while also perfecting how to row and balance academics is another.

It paid off. Coach Dam includes that “We had some great 2,000-meter erg results that set up five of our oarsmen for recruitment to row collegiately next year, including two at Ivy Leagues.”

What does it mean to row at Jesuit?

Coach Dam at the Austin Invitational. Credit: Gar Kayanan.

However, beyond these successes lies the true heart of Jesuit Crew. Coach reveals, “Better than any achievement or races, however, were the daily interactions, the practices and the traveling we got to spend together.”

“I think at the core of it, we all just miss sharing time together,” Coach shares.

Too much of the Jesuit community, these words hold a truth that is felt every day. As we’ve started to get used to remote education and communication, there is still something missing. It’s important now, more than ever, to remember what we do have, and to be grateful for those with whom we can share those blessings.

What’s Next?

Coach Dam debriefs with the future of Jesuit Crew earlier this winter. Credit: Mark Landry

Crew works in a top-down system; the older members teach the younger ones how to conduct themselves and how to develop grit.

Coach Dam recalls, “Through this work ethic, the team definitely began developing a strong championship culture.”

While the seniors in the varsity eight boat will be unable to claim their spot at further regattas under Jesuit Crew, the underclassmen have been taught well how to race and train.

Looking towards the future, Coach Dam adds, “I think we will be even better in the coming years. It is the only way to honor the seniors and the leadership they displayed this year.”

Concluding the interview, Coach reminds us to be grateful: “Quarantine has been difficult, but the one benefit we have is that we have been reminded how important and special every day together really is. I do not think we will take normalcy for granted.”

Stay tuned to The Roundup for more Jesuit Crew news!