The label “club” team is not enough to describe the Oswego State crew team. Without a varsity team, it falls to a club team to hold the interest of students campus-wide. Since the team has club status, organization and operations fall directly to the members. Specifically this task is reserved for the two sets of captains. The crew team and their captains embrace this task and continue to grow.
“We have about 20 guys and 30 girls; our team is growing quickly, almost too quick to adapt,” junior women’s captain Eve Sandler said.
This is not a problem but a new challenge for the team. With no cut-off, participation is encouraged from experts to beginners.
“We have tables in the campus center for open houses and whenever I see someone tall I say ‘Hey you’re tall you’ll be good at crew,’” junior women’s captain Nicole Tarantelli.
The captains continued to explain that anyone can succeed in crew, tall or short, with hard work and a commitment to practice.
The team’s commitment to practice goes unknown to the non-crew public, men’s captain Eric Newton said.
“People have the misconception that rowing is just about pulling hard and muscling it out, but rowing is more complex than that,” he continued. “You can learn the technique of rowing in a day but take the rest of your life to master it.”
“Crew is a rare sport where hard work is the main ingredient to success. This isn’t like basketball where if you can shoot a ball you can succeed the main thing you have to do is work hard,” said sophomore men’s crew captain Cody Stryker.”
Stryker started with no experience like many new members. “I was really scared actually the first few times on the water but I got more comfortable once I learned the basics of rowing,” Stryker said.
Some may find practicing with beginners difficult but the crew team welcomes this task. Newton said he enjoyed stepping into his role as a mentor.
“It was exciting in a lot of ways, I haven’t worked with new rowers in a while and it was something I hadn’t done but I thought I might enjoy,” Newton said.
Crew’s main focus is teamwork. A boat cannot run at peak performance unless all members are in sync.
“It’s like creating something that’s greater than the sum of its parts,” Newton said. “It’s something that just because you come together becomes so much stronger than the individuals.”
“We’re a giant family,” Tarantelli said.
The crew team understands this need and addresses it in creative ways. From participating in fundraisers such as Polar Plunge, to organizing team rock climbing sessions, the crew understands team building.
Club or varsity, the crew team is a model example of what being a team is about.
“It’s not like other sports or anything,” Tarantelli said. “You can’t be taken out of the game. You have to focus and be one with your boat.”