ACRA National Championships
Purdue Crew culminated its spring season this year at what's become the largest collegiate regatta in the nation, the ACRA National Championships in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The team makes ACRAs its clear priority from the very beginning of the year with athletes committing to train on campus for an additional two weeks after finals are finished. With nothing to do but row, eat, and sleep (with some video games and tv binge-watching thrown in for good measure) it's a wonderfully simplistic time to bond with your teammates and enjoy rowing without the stresses of the school year.
After the hard two weeks of post school training, the trip down south to nationals began inauspiciously enough this year, when the team's two charter busses got stuck on a highway in Tennessee that became shutdown for five hours. To make matters worse, one of the busses' air conditioning broke while stuck in the sweltering 90+ degree heat, and after sweating through shirts and emptying all water bottles scattered throughout both busses, the highway finally opened up and traffic got moving once again and a few hours later, 100 stir-crazy athletes arrived at the race course only to find it had just closed to pre-race practices due to some incoming inclement weather. Needless to say it wasn't the start to the weekend the team had been planning for.
But as we remind each other of on the team time and time again- you can't always control the circumstances, only how you respond to them... so after a nice dinner, hotel check-in, showers, boat meetings, and a good night's rest, all was soon right with the world again, and the team returned to the race course the following morning to spar off against our rivals from around the country including UCLA, Michigan, Grand Valley, Virginia, Bowdoin, and others. After a great weekend of racing and solid results, the team fell just short of its goal of repeating as team national champions, finishing third place among the seventy-four teams racing. Throughout the weekend it became clear to all rowers and coaches in attendance that the competitiveness, and level of club rowing in the US is higher than it has ever been, and though we didn't achieve our season-long goal of repeating as team national champions, the young Purdue team laid a good groundwork to build on for next year, when the work to bring the trophies back home begins again. Boiler Up and Hammer Down.