Effort, Experience Will Be Key for Bronco Rowers in 2011
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Under first-year head coach John Wojtkiewicz, the Santa Clara University women's rowing program is prepping for its 2011 season. The preseason training begins in early January, with morning rows taking place daily at the Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos.
The 2011 roster is loaded with underclassmen. In fact, 12 of 18 are freshman walk-ons. In a sport that demands so much of its athletes, Wojtkiewicz will have to find a way keep his rowers focused during a long season that culminates at the annual West Coast Conference rowing championships in early May.
"We're certainly in a building year," said Wojtkiewicz looking ahead to his first season on the Mission Campus. "With a small roster made up of mostly freshmen, we have an opportunity to put an extended, multi-year plan together with the intentions of not only growing the team but building it into a program that competes for conference championships."
Wojtkiewicz has experience in building programs, helping transform his alma mater, Boston University, into an NCAA Championship qualifier in 2006 and more recently guiding the University of Rhode Island men's team to a top-tier finish, at the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championships in 2009.
"We really need to get this group as much racing experience as possible," says Wojtkiewicz. "Not only do we want a full schedule this spring, but during practice we want to put these new rowers in as many competitive situations as possible. The learning curve will be steep, but the benefits in the years to come will be tremendous."
"Rowers are tenacious. They may not start that way, but they learn pretty quick. While tradition and physics dictate that bigger athletes have an advantage in leverage, success in the sport also depends on your ability to put the training work in, and to be able to 'pull hard.' Rowing is one of the few sports out there where maximum physical effort can directly affect the outcome of a race."