One point capped off an incredible 2016-17 season for the women’s rowing team. The Bobcats became national champions as their second varsity eight narrowly defeated the Williams Ephs by one crucial point on Mercer Lake in West Winsor, New Jersey at the NCAA Championships last May. The men’s team also had a remarkable 2016-17 season, as they placed a program-best second in the men’s varsity eight and first in the second varsity eight at the New England Rowing Championships on Quinsigamond Lake in Worcester, MA during the same month. Both teams look back at these impressive achievements fondly but are excited for a fresh slate this spring.

“We have a large team this year with a strong freshman class, so we’re looking to continue to have good depth on our team,” says senior captain Olivia Stockly ’18 on behalf of the entire team. “Every year presents a new challenge, so we’re not necessarily looking at last year, but rather trying to find our full potential this year.”

As a team we are really striving to solidify ourselves as a dominate force, not only within the NESCAC, but also within the rowing community in general,” says men’s senior captain Kyle Schueter ’18. “We are going into this spring season as deep and as strong, across the board, as the team has ever been. Earning a spot in the de facto D1 national championships, IRA’s, is something that all of us have our eyes set on. It would be a NESCAC first and Bates first to get an invitation to such an elite event.”

Unfortunately, the beginning of the season has proven to be rather difficult for both teams. Relentless March blizzards have kept the Bobcats off the water during practices and races, delaying the start of competitions. Given the slow start, the teams are antsy to get on the water and face new rivals.

“We’ll be racing against some teams we’ve never seen before, which is an exciting new challenge,” agrees Stockly and the women’s team. “At this point, we’re just ready to get on the water, competition or practice! Coming off the high momentum of the fall, we’re all very excited to find new speed and face some good competition!”

The women not only dedicate their time to hard work in their erg room, but also test their swim racing talents. “Although we spend the majority of the time in the erg room, every so often we dabble in our swimming abilities with relays and laps,” adds Stockly. “Mostly, we are splashing and making lots of noise and thinking about how easily the Bates swim team would put us to shame!”

The men have also made the most of their practices. “We have been putting in some serious hard work indoors,” says Schueter. “The amount of bulk work we have been doing inside only makes us relish the moments we get on the water that much more, and we always strive to make the most of our time outside of the erg room,” says Schueter.

Saturday, March 31 saw uplifting feats, as both teams used their intensive practices to their advantage and reigned victorious at their respective competitions on the Charles River Basin. The women competed against Simmons, Radcliffe, MIT, and Georgetown and returned to Bates with an impressive 4-1 win. Although a closer result, the men competed against Harvard, Trinity, and Boston College and came home with a 5-4 win. The success that the men and women’s teams saw this weekend foreshadows an exciting spring of regattas!

“Even though most of our competition has been on the water for some time, we’re just excited to get out and see what we can do without water time,” says Stockly and the women’s team. “At this point, we’re hoping for warm weather to melt the river!”

“Also, the indoor work has shown just how strong our team is overall compared to previous years, and it is very exciting to see such powerful underclassmen making their strides in our program, and who are willing to keep pushing the envelope and limits of our successes,” says Schueter.

Overall, on both the men’s and women’s sides, depth has been added to their rosters with strong showings from all class years. The Bobcats look forward to keeping up the momentum from this weekend and jumping into April and May ready to earn huge strides and historic accomplishments.