Rowing is defined as the pastime of propelling a boat by the means of oars.
Calvin Cupp, head coach of the Wichita State Shocker Rowing team, defines rowing another way: racing — getting from Point ‘A’ to Point ‘B’ faster than everyone else.
To be faster than everyone else, a certain curiosity is required.
“Rowing teaches students about themselves and gives them a chance to be adventurous, to do something they haven’t before,” Cupp said. “It challenges their boundaries. It pushes them to their limits.”
Cupp said being on the rowing team doesn’t require any more dedication than players put into their daily routines; it does require desire.
“It’s a very physically demanding, detail-oriented sport,” he said. “I don’t ask my team to be the best of the best, I just ask them to do the highest standard of work they can do. I want them to get to the edge and instead of giving up, say, ‘I can do this. I can handle it.’ I want it to fuel their desire to be successful.”
This year, the Shocker rowing team consists of 52 student-athletes; 25 are returning team members. Those returning for the men’s team are seniors Paul Brink, Patrick Harms, Aaron Holt, Austin Mann, Michael Sullivan and David Tuong. Seniors on the women’s roster include Ashley Brown, Shelby Fath, Marlo Griffith and Rachel Tuck.
“We have a very optimistic group, and I believe that within the group there’s leadership potential. We have to cultivate that, act on it, and lead by example,” Cupp said. “The new kids are still trying to figure things out. They’re eager to learn, and they see massive improvements every day.”
Like most sports, rowing is a competitive sport that requires teamwork, and Shocker Rowing practices with their teammates every morning from 5:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Each athlete is expected to do additional individual training.
“There’s definitely a level of inner strength and mental toughness needed,” Holt said. “We usually put in twenty hours a week, and that’s not including personal workouts.”
The varsity team members are optimistic about the season. They have watched previous teams succeed. They have tasted victory themselves and they want success more than ever.
“Going fast” has proven to be a common term for Shocker Rowing and that’s exactly what junior Bethany Hesse expects her team to do.
“It’s really hard to say how well a team will do this early in the season,” Hesse said. “But I know we’ll be cookin’ in the spring. Our women had a really good season last year, and this year we expect better.”
The 2013-2014 team will travel all over the country from Lawrence to San Diego, Calif. They hope to have a winning season and make a good showing at the ACRA National Championships in Gainesville, Ga. this spring.
This weekend, Shocker Rowing travels to The Head of the Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. They’re hoping to go fast.