Students at Rio are being swept away by the wave of a lesser-known sport quickly gaining on traditional high school sports. Crew, also known as rowing, is a highly competitive club sport, especially in the West Coast region, with many athletes competing for upcoming college applications.
“I think rowing in college would be a great way to meet new people and continue doing the sport I love,” said senior Christian Noack, a member of the Upper Natomas Rowing Club, who started his season a week before school.
Members of other rowing teams, like freshman Tasio Capozzola of River City Rowing Club in West Sacramento compete between clubs, as well as in larger events that take them out of state; in the past, they have been invited to San Diego, Oregon, and San Francisco.
Crew, while not a traditional high school sport of choice for many athletes, is gaining popularity among teenagers.
“I like rowing because it is a total workout, mind and body,” said Capozzola.
These athletes practice heavily during the school year, and most clubs have a very rigorous schedule of practice.
“Training is very intense, especially during the spring season when the competitive regattas, or multi-club races, start. We practice 10 hours a week in the fall, 5 days a week,” said Capozzola.
A lot of this dedication is geared towards long-term goals for their sports. Because of the small size of the teams, competition is fierce for college and competitive teams. Still, many rowers plan to continue their sport into the future.
“I would love to row in college. I think rowing in college would be a great way to meet new people and continue doing the sport I love but it would also be really hard to sacrifice my social life and body. If I find a college with a perfect balance of school and crew, then I think it’d be really fun. Also, it seems like everyone who does crew has this special connection with each other and really understands one another,” said Noack.
Students participating in crew are highly dedicated to their sport and team. The social aspect is as important to many as the competition; the teams are very close knit, thanks to intense training and long practices.
“I would recommend rowing to any athlete wanting to work their hardest and make new friends. I don’t know anyone else at Rio in rowing yet, but would be very happy if anyone interested in rowing came by and checked it out before the spring season kicks into gear,” said Capozzola.
During spring break, the San Diego Crew Classic attracted high school rowers to the west coast’s biggest crew racing event. “I met inspiring athletes who had awesome advice. It was such a humbling experience” said junior Mia Bersola, who rowed for Upper Natomas Rowing Club last year. The USRowing Southwest Junior District Championships will be this Saturday, and rowers from Rio will be heading to Natomas to compete.