Titans making waves

Rowing team builds teamwork, connection

Madeline Hussey, asst. features editor

Arriving at practice every morning by 5:15 a.m. is no easy feat, but watching the sun rise over the Bahá’í Temple in Wilmette, coupled with the sense of accomplishment from completing a tough workout by 7 a.m., makes up for it,  junior rower Mia Burshteyn said.

Burshteyn has been on the North Suburban Crew Rowing team since her freshman year. She said she has enjoyed being out on the water, and liked the team aspect of rowing.

“I love how much of a community sport rowing is because it can’t work if it’s just you,” Burshteyn said. “Seven girls can have wonderful form, [but] if one girl isn’t paying attention to what’s happening, the boat can’t move. [So,] I love how it gets you to focus on nothing except what’s happening in the boat.”

Burshteyn is a coxswain; she sits at either the front or the back of the boat, depending on the type of boat and directs the boat by giving rowers instructions and making sure rowers move in unison. Without the coxswain’s direction, the rowers would struggle  to row together, and the boat could drift sideways instead of maintaining a steady forward path, Burshteyn said. She said that her small size and loud voice have made her  the perfect fit for the role of coxswain.

“I knew that I had what it takes to be a coxswain because I know I can be confident and own up to the choices that I make,” Burshteyn said. “You have to get comfortable with making decisions on the fly, accepting mistakes, and taking them as learning experiences.”

Senior Co-Captain Caroline Brennan also joined the rowing team her freshman year. Brennan said that even though rowing can be difficult, she still enjoys it.

“Usually, [rowing is] really peaceful,” Brennan said, “During races, it’s really fun, because it’s a lot of adrenaline.”

Head Coach Bill Schaudt rowed in college before starting his coaching career in 1999. He said he feels satisfied when the girls are victorious and overcome challenges.

“Successes come just about every day with these girls,” Schaudt said. “The amount of work they put in at each practice would make the average person’s head  turn.”

Schaudt has created drills that help the team to become stronger rowers, but he admitted that this form of training can be tough.

“I put the team through lots of drills that don’t always make sense at the time,” Schaudt said. “But [the drills] start to make sense as the season progresses. Just about every rower on the team has reached their personal best on the rowing machine this winter.”

Though the sport can seem intimidating, Burshteyn admitted, she said it is still worth the early wakeup.

“Don’t be too intimidated by the early wakeup time,” Burshteyn said. “It’s a really wonderful time and community, and we would all be willing to help out with the ways to get around the morning wake up and the commute and all of that.”