Getting oars back in the water

SPU rowing prepares for new season with new coach

Sabrina Jiles, Staff Reporter

The Seattle Pacific University rowing team is hitting the water, finally getting the chance to face off against other teams.

SPU athletics has announced there will be a rowing season this year, bringing joy and excitement to athletes and fans of the sport.

“I’m very grateful that we are going to have a season. I’m also very grateful that we’re in a state where there are other rowing teams within driving distance,” SPU junior rower Danielle Johnson said.

Similar to other SPU athletic teams, travel is limited for athletic competition. The team will be rowing in more local locations and will have fewer out of state regattas than they have had in the past. These modifications do not take away the excitement for the athletes.

SPU senior rower Tamyra Clark-Hoogstrate expressed that during the fall, it was hard to set goals for a season that might not happen.

“I’m now more focused on an end goal. I think in the fall it was more thinking that I have to get through this and take one day at a time. Now I can actually look at the dates that I have on my calendar for nationals and say ‘okay, I need to be ready by this specific date’” Clark-Hoogstrate said.

Clark-Hoogstrate touched on the adjustments they had to make with the team during the fall, from new head coach Caitlin McClain’s arrival to having a new practice format.

“It has been a series of adjustments. It wasn’t just COVID that hit. It was COVID and the coaching change and it all happened at once. I think that it has been a lot more of a change for the better” Clark-Hoogstrate said.

Clark-Hoogstrate said she is excited to see the coaching staff further develop and believes they have been doing a great job thus far.

Johnson and Clark-Hoogstrate described their disappointment after learning that their previous season was canceled. When the team came back in the fall, they shared a feeling of uncertainty as to whether there would be a season.

“It made me nervous. Six months is a long time to go without knowing whether we were going to compete or not and it made me wonder is all this training going to be worth it,” Clark-Hoogstrate said.

The rowing team shifted the way they practice due to COVID-19. Johnson highlighted that the team has made progress from what they are able to in practice during the fall.

“In the fall we had practice pods of five people and did a lot more running than we normally do. We got more creative with our workouts and could only row in boats of four people who were in our training pods. Now we can practice as a full team and are rowing in larger boats,” Johnson said.

Johnson explained that for the rest of the season, she wants to give her season her best and doesn’t want to end the season with regrets.

“My hope is that every race opportunity that we get, we use it to our full potential. I hope, no matter who we are racing or when we’re racing, that we give it everything we got,” Johnson said.

It has recently been announced there will be a rowing championship for the GNAC conference on May 15. However the location of the championship is still up in the air.