By Bridget Griffin and Eleanor Sherry
With Dawson’s student population stuck in quarantine, team sports have taken a major hit. Many, if not all teams have had difficulties adapting to these new circumstances.
As a result, members of the Dawson rowing team have spoken up about the struggle that comes with paddling through a pandemic.
“The day seems slower and it doesn’t feel as motivating as before,” says Dawson rower Raphael Kaiser about the quarantine.
“It's a lot harder to keep the same pace without your teammates.”
The team’s intense training schedule makes the change especially difficult, according to rower Malcolm. “Rowing is choosing to wake up at 4 a.m. everyday to go out into the cold for at least a two hour practice,” says Malcolm. “The transition between that and sitting at home is super jarring at best.”
Routine is especially difficult to maintain in quarantine, as rower Emilie Shoubridge explains, “I would train every morning and that would keep my schedule pretty stable,” she says, “but I’m not training every day anymore so my schedule is really all over the place.”
Despite the circumstances, Dawson’s rowing team still makes an effort to stay in touch. “My team does virtual workouts together and we have weekly chats,” says Shoubridge. In addition to online meet-ups, rowers also get weekly updates from the Montreal Rowing Club’s newsletter.
However, maintaining pre-quarantine levels of motivation isn’t easy. Malcolm still tries to exercise, but working out proves to be more of a challenge in quarantine.
“It's a lot harder to keep the same pace without your teammates,” they say.
Kaiser, Malcolm, and Shoubridge all agree that the number one thing they miss from rowing is the people. “I miss starting my day with the team,” Shoubridge explains. “Doing those tough workouts together first thing in the morning and going to get breakfast afterwards is usually my favourite part of the day.”
“You spend 20 hours a week training with the same people and they become a kind of family,” Kaiser adds.
According to Malcolm, this family dynamic is a large part of the reason why rowing is what it is. “Even though we can be competing against each other,” they explain, “there’s still the want for the person next to you to do well too.”
Malcolm also describes how important Coach Joe Rochon is to the team. “The coach is incredible,” Malcolm says. “Getting a “congratulations” from Joe? Absolutely priceless, makes my whole day. Especially since he only says what he really thinks.”
Even though the process of becoming a rower was tough, Kaiser describes the experience as being ultimately worth it. “I think it’s one of the most interesting and exciting sports,” Kaiser explains. “It’s hard at the beginning because the learning curve is quite steep, but after that you get better and you’re part of an awesome community with really awesome people.”
And even though the current pandemic has changed various aspects of that community, it doesn’t change how great the past was. For Dawson’s rowing team, rowing has created memories its members will never forget.
“I’ve had so many great moments with the friends I’ve made on my team,” Shoubridge says. “I think my favourite feeling in the world is gliding on the water watching a sunrise, and I’m so grateful I got to do that almost every morning for the past two years.”