Is this thing on?

So yes, it has been a while since I last posted, promising my thoughts wrapping up the season.  This is usually the part where I apologize, talking about how busy I’ve been. . . but that’s not really true, it’s mostly just been decompression and a desire to take a step back for a few weeks.

In truth, in contrast to last year, I really have very few frustrations.  And that’s part of the reason it’s been a while– talking about how wonderful everything was this year seems kind of, well, self congratulatory.  There  were challenges but thinking back I don’t really remember them; a sign of a good season.  On the whole I had a ton of fun, all of our athletes got faster throughout the year, and I think we raced above our level.  The men won the conference with ten guys, and aside from a challenging lane draw were probably a top-10 eight in the WIRA association- a huge achievement for them.  The women’s team were young and inexperienced but embraced that challenge whole-heatedly and raced with a passion all year long- this first-year class achieved at a new level for Lewis & Clark and I expect their speed to drive this crew for three more years.   Most importantly, they set an expectation that they want to be better.  We have twenty-three women on the varsity list for next fall- that’s huge, and a direct reflection of the passion and spirit our newer athletes brought to the team this spring.

What do we want to change?  Well, I wish the weather had been a little better and we didn’t have to cancel a big race- but we also had great practices in early spring.  El Nino is unpredictable.  Other then that. . . lots of little things, nothing big.  It’s time to stop making little tweaks and time to evolve what we’re doing into something bigger.  The next evolution on the men’s side is how to transition from a highly successful conference program into a truly competitive varsity program- already this year our performances at WIRA have some bigger schools interested in racing us.  And on the women’s side the evolution is to go from a ‘varsity eight’ program and grow into an ‘eights’, plural, program.  The key for our success both at the conference and, hopefully, the NCAA level is to have between two and three eights on the water every day; my hope is that this year set us up to move in that direction.

In the meantime, it’s back to the office and back to recruiting as I welcome the incoming class of 2014 and get started on the contacts for the class of 2015.  I have some new company in the office.  Our loyal readers may remember a Monday morning back in February with an amazing sunrise.  One of the rowers in that boat, Laura Nash, painted an amazing version of one of the photos I took that day, which she very kindly gave to me at the end of the season and will soon hang in the office for as long as I’m around.  Very, very cool, Laura, and thanks again.

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