The News Page: 4/30/05 NJSRA

By Brian Conley_______________________________________________________________

As it was predicted, the weather was not very cooperative for the spectator, but as an athlete it left the river flat for some good racing. The day started bright and early with the athletes arriving promptly at 6:20am to unload the trailer and go in search of the breakfast they were longing for, especially the lightweights. At the coaches' meeting, there were a few changes to the race schedule. It looked like it was going to be a smoothly run regatta. However, this quickly proved not to be as the first race of the day was delayed by more than 45 minutes and the results were posted nearly 3 hours later. Despite these problems, the Men's JV 4+ (continuing to improve each and every week) proved that they will be a force to be taken seriously in future races. They finished 11th. The Girls JV 4+ also rowed to the same result as they fell in the middle of the pack. They, too, are looking to walk through some crews in the next few races. The Mens Novice 4+ improved upon last week's performance as well. The Novice men have been improving each week and will be looking to have their last couple of races be very competitive in their search for a medal. The Women's Freshmen 8 found some "rough water". Not on the course as they rowed a billiant race, but on land as the results did not reflect in any way, shape, or form their performance, one to make Lower Merion Crew proud. As many a protests were filed for that race by many different teams, none of the protests were acceptable to the officials. The Women will be looking to take their frustrations back out on the river this coming week at the City Championship. The Men's Varsity 4+ found the rough water on the course. They were not able to find their rythym within the race, partly because of a failure of electrical equipment in both their heat and the Petite Final. Instead they had to use the feel of the boat and go "Old School". Still they finished 2nd in the Petite placing them the 8th best crew in their event.

THE FINALS... After not making a single final in the 2004 campaign, Lower Merion found themselves not only just in the finals but pushing the top crews and at times leading the field in their races. The lightweight women raced an incredible race in the heat to place them in lane one of the final. They pushed through the field and were fighting for a place in the top three with 1000 meters left, when Kearny and Prendie pushed out to a length lead with a big move. The women found themselves in 6th place coming in to the last 500 meters where the women pushed back into the field falling short of 5th place by a mere 4 seconds. The Men's Varsity Lightweight 4+ went into the race with a feeling of confidence and a desire to destroy the competition after an easy victory in their heat. After a blistering first 500 meters where Lower Merion had the lead it was a race to the finish line. At the 1/2 way mark, LM was down by a few seats and pushed back into the lead with their trademark "big move" that has secured victory for them before. It was at the 500 meter mark that Kearny pushed way out with a bigger move and St. Anthony's followed as well. Despite a fast sprint by all three crews, LM was not able to pull out the victory, finishing 3rd, despite racing their best race to date. The Varsity Women's 4+ competed in the time trial in the morning and made the final by one of the smallest of margins, a mere .43 seconds. Despite this, the women put on a similar display in the final. Pushing out at the start with the top three crews made for an interesting middle of the race. The women took their move and found themselves down by a length to Hun and a couple of seats to Peddie. The women took the rating up but it was not enough to pass Peddie in the last few strokes taking 3rd place.

Looking at the performances of all the crews it was a very good day for the team, that was supplied by the parents with an incredible amount of food and the extremely delicious cooking of Ann Friedlander that was appreciated by all around. LM was represented by both student-athletes and parents in a manner that would make any program proud. This coming week will be the City Championships that are held on the Schuylkill. It will be a tough regatta as some crews train exclusively towards winning this race as the culmination of their season. Lower Merion has been focused on the bigger race of Stotesbury, but intend to leave a wake of destruction at the City Championships and gain those medals that they have worked so hard towards.

By Michelle Gold _______________________________________________________________

Congratulations to all our rowers.  We certainly enjoyed watching and cheering you on and also enjoyed your company as you joined us on the sidelines whenever one of your team mates rowed by.  And many thainks to our rowers for taking care of the rooms and for representing LM in such a positive light.  You loaded the boats, cleaned out the rooms and waited for the bus until 7PM without complaint (granted it helped you could chill out in front of a tv while you waited.  Right, Guys?) Seriously, our athletes are a delight.  I enjoy everyone of them as I know so do all the other parents.  I think Ann Friedlander got to know just what to serve up each time a familiar face appeared at the grill.  Speaking of Ann I would like to publicly thank her.  She did an incredible job of purchasing, organizing and overall managing the food, not to mention grilling breakfast and lunch.  She stood at that grill for the majority of the day (someone did give her a break, I'm sorry I don't know who), basically only taking time off to watch her son row. Adding to this Marcia Taylor produced an incredible Kosher table of food and Jeff Broudy got up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare one hundred cups of coffee enjoyed by numerous parents. In addition everyone brought their food contributions, and as a result we had plenty of goodies to eat with a nice group of parents who hung around most of the day which added to a genuine all around good feeling that crew seems to create.. And finally let us not forget those wonderful dads (David McIntee, Jeff Broudy, Steve Vargo and Jonathon Levyn) who put together our tent - in all that rain we did not have one leak.  The blue roofers tarp is a pain, but it really works. And last, but not least let me thank whoever broke down the tent and did all the trailer loading.  I went down to the finish line to watch our boats as well as other races (something I do every year).  After our last LM boat had raced I expected to return to the tent to start clean up.  Guess what? It was done.! What a delightful surprise?  Thanks to One and All for making what was an all day and Friday PM affair such a fun time. Once again it was a great day at the river because of what has been called the Ultimate Team Sport - from my view Parents, Rowers and Coaches working tegether.  See you Next Sunday at Cities.  PS  I also want to mention there were two moms who came down Friday night and did their share of unloading and helping with set up - Patti Milsop (who referred to our tent as the "bunker" which it did resemble) and Priscilla Nalls.  Thanks, Ladies.

By David Greenspan _______________________________________________________________

It was poetry in motion! In the darkening afternoon, the clouds were thickening with a dimming oppression. The many wavelets spitting a fine foamy froth, whipping hair, moving tree and branch. The team was already at work, each member focused, committed, working alone yet in unison with the others. A reach, catch, movement, bend a job is done. And then the next and the next. Each adding to the last, building toward a finish that seems so far away at this moment. A quick glance to reveal the others hard at their task, concentrating privately, yet all choreographed together.

And you thought I was talking about one of our boats weren't you? Nahhh. I was reminiscing about that essential support team, the parents, hard at work breaking down the tents, in the mud, the wind, the rain, and the celebratory heartfelt warmth of being together for another successful outing with LM Crew!

RESULTS are now available directly from the NJSRA site.

Here is a bit of what I heard and saw. I hope to post more pictures and stories should I receive them.

Frosh and JV -- Lots of head racing, excellent performances all. Our Frosh ladies were 'cheated' as noted on the results posted by the NJSRA that didn't give our girls a time. Brian Conley, Tara Galvin and Zach Ben-Dov all had choice words for the officials and felt terribly for our ladies. "They work so hard, they put their heart into this race, and they aren't in the finals because they didn't get a time. I can't believe this", were Zach's sentiments. The boys JV 4 came in 11 of 22, Go guys! The ladies JV 4 came in 11 of 24 a mere boat length out of the top 6. Woah! The Frosh boys rowed 10 of 17 finishing these head races in the middle of the pack with the other LM crews. Nice showing.

The Varsity lightweights -- Evidently, there were some serious problems with the Ladies lightweight event too. According to a very unhappy Brian Conley, "Three heats went off, one with only two boats, and two to the finals (a walkover). So, now they are going with time, not placement." Our ladies did come in second in their heat, barely a length behind the winning boat. They made the finals and placed 6th, but it was a very tight field with two lengths separating 3rd from our women. The Men had a much better day after last week, with Steve back in despite hand surgery on Thursday. "Coach says he is rowing better now than ever, relying more on his legs and not yanking with his arms, just the way he has been trying to teach him", said his dad. They rowed to a comfortable first in their heat, and 3rd in the finals. Results say they had 3rd by less than a second, but it certainly didn't look that way to me..

The Senior 4's -- The Men took 4th in their qualifying heat. Their coach noted that their afternoon's second in the "petite" final (for places 7-12) looked like a much better piece. They were 1/2 length out of first, a length over Upper Merion in third. The Ladies were placed in lane 6, after coming in 6th in a morning head race of 23 boats. They looked like they were in a solid second going by the tent, but evidently there is a deceptive tilt in course relative to the bank, as the finish time placed them third, less than a second behind second place Peddie.

All in all, a great showing for the team. Beating more than 1/2 the schools in all events, putting three boats in the finals and one in the Petites. Perhaps our Frosh girls could have added yet another. Great team work and team spirit during a long day in the rain. Go LM CREW!