Fall Sports Preview: Mind over water

Every morning as the sun peaks over the Potomac, the dedicated members of the GW crew teams gather to continue a timeless tradition. Since 1956, GW athletes have worked hard and ambitiously – pursuing a spot on one of the more successful rowing teams on the East coast.

Every year, the crews display how team effort and individual drive can accomplish great things. The true essence of this elite and ancient sport is captured when one sets his mind beyond what one thinks he can achieve. This year’s rowers believe that the team’s combination of talent and experience will leave no victory unattainable.

Today, the GW crew program holds high expectations as it rigorously trains during the fall preseason. The fall is a preparation period and a good indicator of spring season performance. This year’s varsity crew team consists of 20 men and 44 women, a mix of walk-ons and experienced rowers.

Minimal scholarships are offered to GW high school recruits and players. Members are driven by their desire to compete. GW head coach Steve Peterson said rowers earn their right to be on the team through hard work, inspired by their love for the sport.

Peterson has experienced an outstanding record of success. He competed in the U.S.A. Lightweight Double Sculls at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and he is a six-time National Team member.

Peterson enters his fourth year as varsity women’s head coach. This season, Angela Hart has made the transition from varsity lightweight women’s coach to novice women’s coach. New to GW this year is Matt Pascal, the former novice men’s coach at Duquesne. Peterson himself will guide the men’s varsity team until a replacement is found for departed coach Erich Shuler.

Peterson’s main focus this year for the teams is to “step up technically.” The men and women will work on physical improvement but will work equally on their technique.

At GW, the focus is on boats with eight rowers and a coxswain (a coxswain steers and motivates the boat). Each Colonial team will field several boats, and the eight best rowers go into the first varsity boat. Crew typically practices in the early morning hours from Monday through Saturday. The reason for the 5:30 a.m. practice is the flatness of the water, plus the lack of conflicting classes.

“It’s tough the first week getting back into the routine,” said varsity crew member John Creedon. “We shove off the dock – we row north on the Potomac and under the Key Bridge, and the sun is fiery red. You then truly appreciate the sport and realize there is more to life than everyday things.”

The Colonial women, who qualified for NCAAs two years ago, appear extremely promising this year. Three freshmen will compete at the varsity level – Aurora Quae, Danielle Magrini, and Shelby Bullit. The three captains, Deb Friedman, Megan Doyle, and Sarah McClellan, will provide leadership for the boat.

The men’s team is excited to begin a strong, successful season. They hope to field two competitive boats. Freshman Jaime Dellinger will add a spark of power and experience to the varsity boat. A U.S. junior national team member, Dellinger has both the talent and experience needed to excel during the next four years. This year’s men’s captains are Justin Hutchinson and Jason Anklowitz. Hutchinson and Anklowitz are strong, experienced leaders who motivate the team. Both captains said they are looking optimistically toward this season.

Hutchinson hopes that GW will place a top 10 finish in its league.

This year GW’s major competition in the area will be Georgetown and the U.S. Naval Academy.

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