STUART, Fla.- The Yale heavyweight crew team, keeping with tradition, spent the first days of the New Year together rowing in Florida. The team took its annual winter training trip again this year to the eastern coast of the state in the last days of the winter break. Taking advantage of the unfrozen waters of the St. Lucie Lock, the team was able to log 18 training sessions over the course of its 10-day trip. In the eyes of head coach Steve Gladstone, the trip presents an invaluable opportunity to refine the technical aspects of the stroke.
While the warm weather and lack of assignments for a full class schedule are the cornerstones of the progress made in Florida, what's gained from the trip extends past just the technical nuances of the stroke. Senior Gerard Kuenning, who had been on the trip three times previously, explained the other values of spending time away from Yale as a team.
"The work we do during these winter training trips serves a number of developmental purposes, the most obvious being to improve our fitness," said Kuenning. "The second, and arguably more meaningful, reason this time is important relates to honing the team's sense of purpose. Over the past four years, we've been much better able to create a sense of internal competition within the group, which translates directly to greater boat speed during the spring. The squad's ambition to win and race at the level we are capable of has seen huge shifts forward over years past in Florida, with this trip being no exception."
The squad, now back in New Haven, will stay off the water until the weather permits. Until then, the Bulldogs will continue to gain fitness and refine their technique in the tanks. As the springtime season approaches, the crewmembers will be able to reflect on their time spent in Florida, and focus on the season ahead.
"In the spring, races are won by parts of seconds, so you see the absolute need to build a strong technical platform. This is hard work that's rewarding. [The Florida trip] is an essential piece of what we do," said Gladstone.
Report filed by Ari Zimmet '16, Yale Sports Publicity.