Holy Cross Rowing Diary: In The Shell With Megan Russell

Megan Russell

Diary Entries
April 26, 2006
March 20, 2006

April 26, 2006

Racing season is in full swing! A lot has happened to me, and the team, since I last wrote. We made it back from spring break safely, and although we were all tired from the long, strenuous week, we were excited to begin racing. For me, that chance to race would have to wait. Before I left from spring break I was diagnosed with mono. Forced to become the team "manager," I went to every practice and spent the afternoon in the launch with coach Diggins watching the boats race each other. From this, I gained a different perspective of rowing.

The first race of our season is always Jesuits. We piled into the bus for the long, six hour journey to Camden, N.J. Racing against some very fast crews, we did well. Our hard work over spring break had paid off and we were putting it all together. I was excited to see what the rest of the season would bring! We came back to Lake Quinsigimond, to resume practicing. The next few races proved even more promising as we beat our competitors with strong, powerful rows. We gelled as a team over spring break and it showed on the water. We were working as one. I was impressed with the focus both in practice and in the weight room. Through the heart of the regular season we had some good races and bad races but the ups and downs contributed to the growth of the team and has made us stronger.

After three weeks of sitting by and watching my team push themselves, I jumped back into the boat, ready to go. It has been tough, getting back into the swing of the boat and getting used to the physically draining practices. Wanting so badly to race in my boat again, I pushed myself harder, ready and excited to make the boat move. With the support of my team I am back, ready for the best part of the season, which begins this weekend: championship season. This is the time when all the results thus far are thrown out the window. It is the team who comes ready to row and who has the heart and desire to win it all that succeeds. The exhilarating feeling of sitting at the line, competing for a championship title, is one that motivates me to pull harder than the boat sitting next to me, pushing my team to go for it all.

Until Next Time,
Megan Russell

Back To Top

March 20, 2006

Hello everyone my name is Megan Russell and I am a junior majoring in history here at Holy Cross. I have been rowing on the women's varsity crew team since my freshman year. From the beginning, I have loved both Holy Cross and rowing. Crew is a sport where devotion, drive, strength, and heart are essential. Nothing compares to the feeling of sitting in a boat, pulling hard on the oar, and moving faster than you ever have before. Of course, this does not come naturally. It takes hard work and dedication, which begins on the first day of classes in the fall and continues on throughout the year. Entering March, we begin the most exciting part of the year for me, racing season.

With the winter season coming to a close, I was happy to leave the dreaded ergs behind and head to Cocoa Beach, Fla., for a week of intense training. Spring break is one of my favorite times of the year and also the most painful. I love it because the team comes to together and becomes one. We eat, sleep, and live together and bond on a deeper level than ever before. We work through the pain and come out a true team.

We left Worcester airport early Sunday morning ready to begin our adventure. I couldn't wait. The plane landed in Florida and we raced off to the hotel, dropping our bags before driving to the canal where our boats awaited us. Everyone was anxious and excited - freshmen not knowing what to expect, upper classmen worried because they know what to expect. I felt a mixture of enthusiasm and nerves. I knew what was coming - intense, long, grueling practices - but I was excited to be on the water again and excited to be in a boat that moved. I was jumping up and down in my seat as the water came into view; it was time to row. The sun shining, the water calm, it was perfect rowing weather. We wadded the boats into the water and climbed into our seats, one at a time. With all eight situated, we simultaneously placed our blades in the water and pushed away from the shore and into the open abyss. My first official practice of the spring season had begun. I had to readjust to the oar handle instead of the erg handle, the moving boat instead of the stationary machine, and the palm trees instead of the Hart hallway. Gliding along the flat water surrounded by porpoises and manatees I was truly happy.

Needless to say, my trip was not as glamorous, picturesque, or magical as the first day. The following five days I set my alarm clock each morning at 5:20 a.m., blisters appeared all over my hands making it impossible to touch anything without shooting pain, and my body had trouble getting out of bed. Two practices a day, rowing for two to three hours a session tired my mind, body, and morale; it did for everyone. Yet we stuck with it and pushed harder to make the boats move faster. I began to see positive results from the torturous practices we were enduring. Each day seemed longer than the last, but with each stroke improvements occurred. The pain somehow became bearable; I knew it was worth it in the end. The accomplishment of knowing I survived spring break was enough to push me forward. The team was coming together both outside and inside the boat. We molded into a single unit, working towards a common goal - speed. I knew we were not at our peak performance level; that was not the goal of spring training. But we were picking up speed and we were finally coming together. To top off the training week we did pieces against Northeastern and WPI. It was a chance to see the benefits of our hard work. I was impressed by how well we did. The boat moved as one; we executed exactly how we wanted and we accomplished our major goals. It felt great; I am excited to see what the rest of the season brings! While spring break was intense, physically draining, and sometimes miserable, in the end it was worth it. We have the foundation we need to go into the spring season full steam ahead, prepared to work harder and improve even more. There is nothing like sitting at a line next to several other crews and hear the words "Attention...Go." I can't wait!

Until Next Time,
Megan Russell

Back To Top