Behind the Splash: A Look Inside the Boathouse


Carissa Cochico

The women hit the erg machines as part of the daily practice routine.

Leila Rodriguez, Writer

“10 MORE STROKES!” “KEEP IT UP!” “DON’T QUIT NOW!” are the typical yells a Loyola Academy rower hears as they step into the boathouse. 

The LA crew team spends about 60% of their time inside on the erg, or rowing machine, despite being a water sport. From the river to the boathouse, the team stays motivated, putting in 110% effort everyday from 3:00-6:00 pm.

At 3:15 everyday, a coxswain writes down “NATIONAL CHAMPS” on the white board. 

Rowing trainers Patrick and Lesley frequently have nutrition talks to the teams, teaching them how to prepare for test pieces, races, and everyday practices.

Nutrition is a big part of crew. Eating too little before practice can cause “your body [to] just give out and you can pass out on the erg mid-piece,” said senior varsity rower Sofie D’Ascenzo. 

Contrarily, D’Ascenzo says overeating before practice is not good either. “When you’re rowing you’re hitting your ribs with the oar or handle, and along with the high intensity it is easy to throw up.” 

The low window in the big erg room is replacing the usual bright orange home-depot throw up buckets.

 Now if someone feels sick from a piece “you have to put your head out the window,” said Sean Venegas, junior men’s varsity member. 

At 3:30, the women’s team is upstairs in the open erg room, where the rowers are ranked best to worst. The best spot is in the front out of four rows of ergs. A rower’s combination of speed and timing during their 2k and 6k test pieces determines which erg they get.

Workouts on the erg range from relay races with partners to solo hour long steady state pieces.

 During test pieces or relays, around half the team is on the erg, while the other half is cheering. Mike Kelley, women’s varsity coach, is banning music from test pieces. “The yelling is essential because that is what is motivating us…without screams it is just silence,” says Anya Cominos, senior varsity rower.

Downstairs, the men’s team is doing a mixture of weightlifting and CrossFit with trainers. 

Their goal of being national champs comes with more than just erging, “every part of our workout matters, even lifting or tanking,” says Cominos. 

The teams switch spots after an hour, and at 5:30 the girls are heading into the tank room.

The tank room is simulating being out on the water, with two big pools of water along with rowing seats and oars next to the pools. There the girls focus on technique and timing with the oars. 

Timing is an important part of making the boat win races. On the water, “It’s all pressure. You want to stop, but you can’t because you have to be in time with everyone else,” says Isabella Chamorro, senior rower. 

After tanking the practice closes out with a team huddle and chants “RAMBLERS ON THREE, 1-2-3- RAMBLERS!”