Girls Crew Day In The Life

What it takes to be a member of the girl’s crew team


Members of the crew team exit the boat during a practice. On the water practices only occur during the spring season.

Monuments, cherry blossoms, sunrises and sunsets are all part of what senior Tessa Muldowney would call the best part of being on the crew team — the views. Muldowney began crew freshman year after being inspired by family friends who participated in the sport and being encouraged during a school activity fair because of her height. 


“At the beginning of freshman year, these girls walked up to [my friend] Amelia and I and said ‘Hey, you guys are tall. Here’s a flyer do crew.’” Muldowney said. “I [really] like being on the river in DC, it’s so scenic because I get to row behind the monuments and the Key Bridge and Georgetown.” 


 However, most of the views are from inside the school during the winter season. Members of the crew team spend most of their time on the ergh machines inside the school cafeteria to prepare for rowing on the water later in the year. 


“[An erg is] a machine where there’s a moving speed, and there’s a wheel and a handle,” senior Maya Sanz-Kimura, girls’ crew team member, said. “You push with your feet and move the handle… it’s difficult to explain, but you do the same motion. Sometimes we use rowing machines, run, or do weightlifting as well, but the main component is erging.” 


In the spring, the team runs three miles to their boathouse in Georgetown, where they then participate in dynamic stretching and spend around two hours on the water each day. 


“Sometimes we’ll do drill work or technique work on how to row better,” Sanz-Kimura said. “We often do practice races or endurance pieces, so we’re in shape for all of our races. We hope to [get a] medal and be fast.” 


 The team must first look at lineups of who will be in their boat and in what position before getting in the water each practice. 


“We have to look at the lineups our coach has made because they’re intricate,” Muldowney said. “They require eight people and a coxswain or four people and a coxswain, and then you go and get your boat and essentially listen to your coxswain and row for two hours.” 


With the spring season comes regattas, which occur almost every weekend. 


“We compete … nearly every Saturday in regattas, which are the races,” Sanz-Kimura said. “I’m usually there all day on Saturdays, but we only row once because we have to stay and cheer on the rest of the other teams. At the very end of the season, we have states, which usually, if you make it through [states], you also [will] have away regattas, which could be in places like Pennsylvania, near Philly, or in New Jersey or Tennessee.” 


As captain, senior Amelia Sahm has a variety of roles. 


“I run the Instagram account…, and we also plan volunteer events at AFAC (Arlington Food Assistance Center),” Sahm said. “We organize a lot of team events since our roster is like 60 girls right now, so we try to organize things like big and little sisters and just various team dinners. We also are in charge of recruiting, so I’ve gone to middle schools to try and get eighth graders [to join].” 


Sahm invites students to join the crew team.


“If you want [to join] you can email our coach, or we have a link in our Instagram bio, an interest form, and then we can contact you with more information,” Sahm said. “If people want to, it’s not too late [to join].” 


Sanz-Kimura emphasized the friendships that she has made as a result of the sport, and as a result, recommends joining to others. 


“The best part of crew is my friends, I wouldn’t make it without them,” Sanz-Kimura said. “I joined crew freshman year because I wanted to make new friends since I didn’t know anyone at W-L.” 


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