Strong Island Sprints: The Unofficial Start of the Spring Season

Strong Island Sprints: The Unofficial Start of the Spring Season

by Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant 

During the cold winter months, we train indoors. It isn’t easy: indoor workouts are no match for beautiful practices on the water. Feeling the wind through your hair and the water running under the boat is magical while staring at the screen on your erg can get… well, boring. On the other hand, the winter is an excellent opportunity to work on cross-training, technical drills and, of course, raw speed. Some say that medals are won in the winter and picked up during the spring. They’re not wrong, the hard work that’s put in during erging, lifting, and group fitness sessions pays off when our athletes get back in boats. Fortunately, our coaches plan activities all throughout the winter to avoid the indoor training rut. Our students erg; lift; run; cycle; visit tanks (rooms that simulate rowing on the water with sliding seats, oars, and water); do yoga; attend college tours, workshops and panels; and, most importantly, race.

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Strong Island Sprints is the annual culmination of our winter season. It is an indoor rowing race on Long Island, hosted by the St Anthony’s High School Friars. The event marks the first race for many novices and is really exciting for all of our student-athletes, who get to showcase all of the work they’ve put during the winter months.

A huge thank you to all of our coaches, who motivate and push our athletes through the hardest season of the year.

A huge thank you to all of our coaches, who motivate and push our athletes through the hardest season of the year.

Indoor rowing races are different from traditional races because many factors that affect speed (wind, precipitation, temperature, the boats’ weight, steering) are controlled. At Strong Islands, it’s only you, your machine and your coxswain’s voice. Since “ergs don’t lie”, indoor races are a chance to shine as an individual and to learn what works best in terms of preparation and race strategy. Since so many factors are controlled, then other factors such as mental toughness and even that morning’s breakfast become much more important.

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Over 100 Row New Yorkers represented us at the race in the middle school, novice, coxswain, lightweight and varsity categories. The middle school and coxswain races were 1,000m and the novice, lightweight, and varsity races were 2,000m long. Our athletes wore their game faces and mentally prepared until it was time to warm up, first on the track and then on the erg. Once racers were called to their ergs, they had a couple of minutes to adjust their machines and take some practice strokes. Once the race began, rowers focused only on their ergs and their coxswains (and maybe on the “Go Row New York!!” chants) all the way through the finish line. These long sprints are incredibly physically and mentally demanding but once they were over, athletes got a chance to hang out and cheer on their teammates.

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All of our athletes approached the race with outstanding professionalism, bravery, and sportsmanship. We’re proud of our athletes for working so hard this winter and we look forward to watching them race this spring.

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Shoutout to all of the following athletes for their top five finishes:
Boy’s Bantam
2nd Joshua Hernandez
4th Thomas Green
5th Taylor Will
Girl’s Bantam
1st Annie Brown
2nd Giovanna Robson
3rd Naia Charland
5th Juliet Breitman
Girl’s Coxswain
3rd Ashley Kim
4th Heidy Luna
Men’s Coxswain
3rd Noe Zambrano
4th Dooly Zamy
Women’s Novice
3rd Georgia Moore
4th Ellie Huntington
5th Neoma Kathriner
Men’s Novice
2nd Brian Colot
4th Robert Taylor
5th Alrick Kelly
Women’s Lightweight
4th Brianna Swartz
5th Emily Hsu
Men’s Lightweight
5th Cristian Garcia
Men’s Varsity
4th Sergio Consuegra

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Let’s go, Row New York!

Video by Arshay Cooper, Chief Program Officer and Author of Suga Water 

Photos by Claudia Loeber, RNY Photographer and Adult Program Coordinator

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