The hidden gem of varsity sports

Acacia Lio
October 7, 2021
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

McMaster’s 5:30 a.m. athletes: the rowing team

C/o Yoohyun Park

Meet a McMaster sports team who finds themselves with very minimal media share — the rowing team. They were founded in 2002 and are composed of varsity, junior varsity and novice teams. The rowing team attends numerous regattas, the most recent one being the invitational regatta hosted by the University of Guelph. 

With the lack of media attention comes a few problems for the team, the largest one being a lack of incoming members. Jacob Bresolin is the captain of the men’s rowing team. 

“Definitely without having a lot of media coverage and not much attention, it’s hard to keep numbers up and keep people interested in rowing. And definitely it’s a big turn off when you tell them that we have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning,” said Bresolin.

Sarah Oresnik, the captain of the women's rowing team, further echoed this message, conveying the difficulty of member recruitment, especially through the pandemic. 

“With COVID, we’ve had a couple of years of students graduating, so we lost a lot of our varsity members, and we didn’t have novice teams for at least a year,” said Oresnik.

The novice teams are made up of those who have an interest in rowing but have never rowed either competitively, or even at all. 

“The way novice works is it’s for people who have never rowed before and have never rowed a race in their life before, and we train them for a year and teach them how to row a race. And then if they come back for another year, they have the chance to be on the JV or varsity team straight out of novice,” explained Bresolin

While joining the team may be easier, having the will to stay on it is much harder. 

“I think keeping your cool and staying in time are the hardest parts about it,” said Bresolin. “And basically staying focused and keeping yourself from getting frustrated when things don’t go right. Especially when you’re in a boat with a lot of people, there’s a lot of factors that you can’t control.”

Oresnik agreed and explained her mentality regarding the sport. 

“When you get frustrated, [you have to] focus even more, keep your head in the boat, follow the swing of the person in front of you,” said Oresnik.

However, according to Bresolin, these hardships build great relationships. 

“Being at practice is another way that we actually build our team spirit and our team bond, just by rowing together every morning. The struggle builds friendships,” commented Bresolin.

"Being at practice is another way that we actually build our team spirit and our team bond, just by rowing together every morning. The struggle builds friendships."

Oresnik agreed, “Yeah, you’re all going through the same experiences, and it really brings you together.”

The rowing team’s next race is the weekend of the second of October, and will be hosted by Brock University in St. Catharines. In preparation for the event, the team will be heading to Trent University for an exhibitional race on Oct. 2. 

“This weekend, we are heading up to Trent University to row a bit of a longer race, it’s called a head race. It’s about five kilometers down the Trent course. . . It cuts through the campus, so it’s a really cool race. There’s a lot of energy at this regatta, so it should be a fun time,” explained Bresolin.

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