Crew season begins with a splash

By Pascale Rucker


If the Sewanee Crew team had a theme song, it would be the smash hit “Happy Together” by the Turtles if for no other reason than for these few lines: “so happy together… How is the weather?… so happy together.” The crew team is an amiable group of Sewanee’s top club athletes who regularly depend on each other for a good time. However, amidst all the jovial moments and appreciation for each other, a Sewanee rower constantly questions “How is the weather?” The weather is the only force which can dampen the spirits of these Amazonian athletes. Adverse atmospheric conditions interfere with practice and keep the rowers, ripe with remorse, away from their beloved sport and teammates.

However, the forecast predicts clear, sunny skies at the dawn of this spring season. Under the guidance of a qualified quad of cabinet members, the team is destined for greatness and gold. Of that fierce foursome, team captain and certified cat whisperer Parker Stoker (C’14) anxiously awaits getting back on the water as well as the bleeding and blisters which often accompany the beginning of a season, “There are few things in life which compare to the beginning of a new year of rowing. That first drive after break back to the shores of Lake Dimmick is magical. So far we have had a great turnout and I can’t wait to get everyone on the water.” The remarkable combination of returning rowers and fresh faces will make this an exciting season.

The crew team will have to balance both new talent as well as the weight of their boats if they hope to bring home the hardware. Cabinet member and coxswain Taylor “Sleeping Bear” Skalka (C’14) is not dubious in the least about the team’s strength, “I have seen this before: new rowers, old talent, and the water. It’s a recipe for success. The sport demands a certain type of patience that comes in handy when training newbies. With that patience, not to mention the lack of lily pads in the winter, it is only a short matter of time until the new rowers are up to speed or… er… stroke.” We will have to wait and see if Skalka’s instincts are correct at the up-coming events. The crew team will be absent from the domain the first weekend of March for a demanding, but delightful training camp at Tim’s Ford state park. This is to be followed by a little friendly competition in Chattanooga against a few other regional teams, including the University of Tennessee: Chattanooga. The most anticipated regatta is the Gunnersville Regatta, taking place in Gunnersville, Alabama, the weekend of Apr. 6.

When asked about the high competition this season holds, cabinet member and bow of the ball Rebecca McDonough (C’14) calmly stated, “Bring it on, I’m in it to win it. This team has heart. Tigers fly together!” McDonough is right. The stamina and endurance the team builds during its bi-weekly conditioning might just be enough to leave all the division 1 teams in the wake. As much as the team strives for gold, it is the camaraderie which makes the commitment worthwhile. If you feel a desire to become a part of this fellowship, it is not too late to join! Email Parker Stoker at for more information.