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Teamwork on the River

April 05, 2012

Boathouse at Oaks Park


Head crew coach Sam Taylor shares his thoughts on the sport and why he encourages any student, regardless of experience or ability, to give rowing a try.


What challenges or opportunities does the rowing program present?

In any program, you face external challenges: the weather, academic demands, illness, social pressures. We look to the people we have on each day, work to develop the best crews we can in that moment, and try to produce our best races at the most important regattas.

The coaching staff and I want our athletes to excel in the classroom, be excellent people, and achieve as much as possible in the time they have. We think of our job as teaching students how to work effectively to meet challenging goals. We just do that through the medium of fast rowing.

What do you enjoy most about coaching crew?

I think rowing frustrates some observers because the sport lacks “stars.” But to me, that’s the best part. The quality of a crew is only as good as the commitment of every person in it. To win an eights race takes nine people (eight rowers plus the coxswain) fully committed to the process of getting down the course, trusting in each other, and working to make those around them better. What makes this sport a joy to coach is the process of developing every athlete and the knowledge that a passionate and dedicated crew, determined to race well together, can beat more talented crews that perhaps lack some of that synchronization.

Why should future Pioneers consider joining the crew team?

Rowing is a physically challenging sport, but we have seen again and again that those who are willing to commit the time and effort can become amazing athletes. Crew, at least as we approach it, has the potential to help students meet goals in other areas, too.

We have both men’s and women’s teams. Everyone is welcome.


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