Crew is considered the ultimate team sport, and both RIT’s men’s and women’s teams have the harmony down on and off the water. Coach Jim Bodenstedt and all his athletes are using their team unity to build the strength of the teams and programs. This year every single one of them have their eye on the prize, and they know exactly how they can get there.

Both programs are only looking forward. Their focus is the spring which, for crew, is the championship season.

“We will be rowing a different race this year,” said fourth year Industrial Engineering major Taylor Blackwell, who is one of the co-captains to the women’s team.

Neither the men’s or women’s team have won a New York State Championship title before, so they are doing everything they can to make history.

“We have finished second too many times; we really need to get it done,” stated Coach Bodenstedt. As he put it, this year is their year for victory.

Both teams have many strengths that will help them achieve this goal, including great team chemistry. As Coach Bodenstedt put it, “Rowing lies a lot on fluidity and harmony and working together in unison.” The entire sport depends on everyone working together, because what one team member does affects everyone.

“We grow as a team,” said fourth year Electrical Engineering major Amy Guthrie, another co-captain on the women’s team. If one teammate is not up to par with everyone else, the whole team is going to experience the setbacks and consequences. Everyone experiences the learning curves together.

“This year, we really have one team,” Blackwell explains. Both co-captains agreed there has been much more unity in this team than in the past.

Coach Bodenstedt said he sees a lot of potential on the roster this year. Not only is the retention rate high, but the newcomers are promising as well. From the camp clinic, Coach Bodenstedt observed that this is the “most athletic bunch [he] has seen, maybe ever.”  Not only that, but the numbers are great. He says the women’s team has done nothing but grow, which sometimes can be harder to make happen.

One of the main focuses this year is also strength training. Coach Bodenstedt’s plan is “getting stronger in the weight room, so we can take that strength and put it in the boat.” Hitting the gym and building brute strength is crucial for the success on the water, but it will also help prevent any unwanted injuries. It won’t be an easy path, but it can and will be done.

Blackwell explained, “This is a building season for us, we lost a lot of strong seniors last year, but we have some girls that can definitely step up.”

Guthrie added to this saying, “I want [everyone] on the team to realize their potential ... because they all have it.” From the looks of it, the talent seems to be there. Now it’s just up to the team to leave everything and a little more on the table.

Both teams are looking to grow over the course of this year. Usually, there are no "star players" in a sport so dependent on teamwork, but Coach Bodenstedt could not help but mention some key members of the two teams. He is putting a lot of faith in his captains, and is expecting to see their leadership skills shine through. Seniors Tim Frey and Connor Murdock will take on the roles of co-captains for the men’s team, while Seniors Taylor Blackwell and Amy Guthrie will help lead the women. Coach Bodenstedt sees them each “being a leader off the water was well.” Along with the coaches, these individuals will play a big part in the success of the teams this year.

“It’s a redemption season,” declared Guthrie. With all the hard work and effort, that championship win is in near sight. Both teams have the athletic potential to bring home a first place title, but most importantly, they have the heart.

All this being said, mark your calendars for the big upcoming race on October 8. The crew teams will be competing in the Head of the Genesee, one of the few home regattas. This is a huge race, and the RIT students and faculty should get out there and cheer on their fellow Tigers to victory.