By: Graeme Calloway
This summer marks the birth of Riverside’s first combined masters sweeps program. Prior to the formation of this new team, there was no formalized masters women’s rowing at RBC outside of our sculling group. While the club has made efforts in the past to establish a separate women’s program, it was hard to get the teams up and running. Finding coaching, juggling equipment, and coordinating everyone’s busy schedules proved to be difficult obstacles to overcome.
Instead, having the men and women training and racing together at the boathouse as one program has turned out to be a lot more manageable than running two separate teams. In fact, it was the men’s team who suggested the merger. Already well managed, joining programs allowed the women to jump right in on established procedures and practice times. It alleviated the stress of sharing equipment between two teams and allowed the growing program to make an excellent case for hiring their own coach. It also doesn’t hurt that the addition of the women to the squad will allow the already competitive masters program to further secure points trophies at their regattas!
The permanent addition of a women’s program has been long overdue. Currently, about fifteen women are affiliated with the team, and everyday about twenty rowers train together putting out two 8’s and a 4. While each program trains in single gender boats, having the joint program allows for people to fill seats when needed. Masters rowers lead busy lives and a deeper bench allows for everything to continue running smoothly. Besides, mixed 8’s always makes for some hot racing!
Everyone has enjoyed working with Holly Metcalf, the new coach hired to head up the masters program as well as our sculling group. She has gotten everyone up to speed very quickly and done an excellent job of coordinating with all of the different teams and groups in the boathouse. As far as the masters group goes, it has made a huge difference for them to have their own dedicated coach and they expect it to pay huge dividends going forward.
In the future, the masters team would like to see Riverside become one of the most dominant masters programs in the country. In their own words, they are on a quest for “world domination.” But that begins with a strong showing at Masters Nationals this summer. The squad is excited to put together some really fast boats and lock down not only a hefty medal haul, but the points trophy for the regatta as well.
The growth of the masters program is very exciting for Riverside. It fosters a membership with more experience, resources, and institutional memory. Keep an eye out for these guys this summer. The new Riverside Masters Program is hunting for some hardware!