Women’s Team Gears Up for the 2015 Racing Season


From left to right Sabrina Lavieri, Gail Zaherek, Kate Cohen, Ashley Shepard, Renee Jones, Nicole Rousseau, and Karen Duni discuss plans for the 2015 racing season.

Last month 14 members of the FVRA women’s racing team gathered together to share some holiday cheer, reflect on the 2014 racing season past, and to begin to lay the foundation of the forthcoming 2015 season.

Racing team members from the 2014 season were forced to adapt to low membership numbers, and for the most part made a seamless transition from sweep to sculling singles and doubles. And while membership numbers were down, FVRA team members entered 11 races in 2014 acquiring critical racing experience along the way. FVRA was represented at C.R.A.S.H.-Bs, the Head of the Charles, the Head of the Hooch in Tennessee (although the team never saw water at the Hooch due to extreme weather) and a number of local regattas.

In preparation of the 2015 season, the team will formally train together twice a week- Sunday morning at Trinity and Wednesday evening at Power 10- to get the team into rowing shape. Hitting the gym, erging at home, and yoga are all additional activities strongly encouraged to aid team members who want to get into optimal racing condition.

“One advantage our team has is that everyone takes pride in their fitness and working out,” says Renee Jones. “We know and expect that if someone isn’t at practice they are still working out hard at home. This year, if we want to attend the bigger regattas, we have to be already fit by the time we hit the water in March.”While the racing team will strive to practice together as often as possible during the winter training season, and up to four times per week May through November, it’s understood that there is no actual requirement. “We’re not college athletes anymore,” says Ashley Shepard, Women’s Racing Team captain. “Most, if not all, of us have an active life outside of rowing filled with work and family. The requirement is really to do what you can.”

“The focus of winter training needs to be the building on a goal,” says Katie Ouellette, FVRA President. “You better yourself and you better the team.”

The meeting also addressed what races to go after in 2015. Masters Nationals in Camden, New Jersey, the Head of the Charles, and the Head of the Hooch were all penciled in as team goals, as well as the usual local sprint and head races. A club listing of races will be posted to the FVRA website soon.

Despite low membership numbers, one thing is clear. The club is held together by a thread of passion for rowing. “This team is about personal betterment and about people rowing well together,” says Kate Ruppar. “This group is more enjoyable than any other I’ve been a part of as a masters rower.”