by Ruby Lyon
February six marked Row New York’s first race of the spring season. At the Strong Island Sprints, an annual indoor racing event, athletes put their winter season conditioning to the test. The race was a truly impressive sight, with 109 Row New York student-athletes representing Manhattan and Queens varsity, novice, and middle school teams. The air was full of nerves, jubilation, and reverberating cheers. Throughout the event, waves of RNY participants took to the ergs, while their teammates crowded the white fence separating spectators from racers. Although other schools were in attendance, Row New York’s endless cries of support for fellow teammates were loud and clear. For more photos from the race, visit our Flickr album.
“The overall highlight of the race is that we saw our participants, from middle school programming, novice programming, and varsity programming, carry themselves in a mature, focused, and competitive nature. We definitely looked like a technically and emotionally sound crew across the board. I’d also like to note that all varsity competitors who did not PR were all within range of their PRs at this regatta.” – Queens varsity girl’s coach, Breanne Fitzsimmons
While racing, athletes must stay strong and focused, even as they hit their anaerobic threshold. Aleeyah, Queens varsity rower, knew how to push through those moments and used her imagination on the erg: “I always have someone cox me. So in my head, I always think of being on the water. Thinking you’re on the water, and you’re in a boat, you can’t stop because everyone else is rowing. I’m not going to stop because I wouldn’t stop in the boat for my girls, I’m going to keep going. We’re going to finish it together. We are going to finish it strong no matter what the split is, what the stroke rate is, you finish it.” Many athletes carefully picked their coxswains for the race to motivate them to the very end.
“Overall we had a strong showing at the Strong Island Sprints. We had several PR’s amongst our (boy’s varsity) group, and a solid race experience to break up our winter season. I was happy with the varsity boy’s performances and the way they approached the race environment – which is something we have been specifically working on during this winter season. They did a great job stepping up to the challenge and illustrating the work that they’ve put in this season.” – Manhattan varsity boy’s coach, Sasha Bailey
TOP HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RACE
- Queens varsity coxswain, Katherine, took home a gold medal in the Coxswain Event, while Manhattan coxswain, Celia, claimed second place
- Manhattan rower, Kenny, placed third in the Men’s High School Event
- Manhattan rower, Ricardo, placed 6th overall in the Men’s HS Lightweight Event
- Isabel, Manhattan varsity, placed 6th overall in the Women’s HS Lightweight Event
- From the Manhattan novice team, Duncan took home a 3rd place medal in the Boys Bantam heat
- From the Manhattan middle school team, Kaila took home 1st place, Isabel took home 2nd place, and Rosario took 3rd place
- There were a lot of PR’s for the Queens ladies: Gislaine, Kristal, and Nazirqah PR’d in the Lightweight Women’s Event. Michelle, Kaitlyn, and Ginevra PR’d in the Women’s Event
- Click here for a complete list of the results.
The Strong Island Sprints were a mixed bag of emotions for our athletes; they were nervous, excited, proud, relieved, and exhausted all at once. We know that all of them pushed their hardest, both for themselves and their teammates. We are so incredibly proud of every one who attended and loved seeing Row New York team spirit in full force! This is only the start to a fun and exciting season. Our next race is already right around the corner. We are looking forward to joining the C.R.A.S.H.-B.’s races on February 28th!