As the Ohio State rowing team looks ahead to going after an unprecedented fourth straight national championship in 2016, the squad is working hard to prepare itself and stay focused on the season ahead.
“It’s kind of an indescribable feeling because at the end, you all realize how much work you all put in for this moment,” junior MaryClare Stannard said.
The team captured its third consecutive championship last year, becoming the first in NCAA history to do so.
“When we won, I was just so happy for everyone in the boat and on the the team,” junior Casey Schaffer said.
There is a lot of buzz surrounding the team and the possibility of repeating yet again, and everyone involved in the program knows it.
“We try to stay humble, and we gotta make sure there’s no cutting corners,” Stannard said.
Assistant coaches Madeline Davis and Anna Goodale take a similar viewpoint in focusing on the now.
“I tell them ‘one stroke at a time,’ because you will not get better if you skip over and not pay attention to what’s right in front of you,” Goodale said.
Davis added that the team’s main focus has to be improving, even after reaching the pinnacle three years in a row.
“At every opportunity you have to take a step forward, take it,” Davis said.
Both Davis and Goodale have professional experience in rowing, having competed on the U.S. women’s national team.
Goodale, the newest addition to the coaching staff, was a member of the women’s eight team that won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The women’s eight team, which is a team in rowing that has eight members in the boat, with four oars on either side for propulsion and a rudder manned by a coxswain, is the group which took home the individual championship for OSU.
The team works hard to keep focused through a culture of camaraderie.
“We are honestly a family,” Schaffer said. “I’ve never been a part of such an empowering group of young female athletes.”
Stannard agreed that it is a very close-knit group.
“We feed off of each other as teammates,” Stannard said. “We can’t do it without each other.”
The 2016 schedule has yet to be released, but the season is set to begin in late March.