The Carroll Times

The Student News Site of Archbishop John Carroll High School

The Carroll Times

The Carroll Times

Carroll crew: A look back as championship season approaches

If a race is 1500 meters, a rower will have burnt through all the lactic acid in their muscles in 30 seconds, leaving them to row on nothing but pure adrenaline for the remainder of the race.

Not many people know that fact. Not many know about the sport of crew, either. First seeing competition in 1715, crew differs from paddling sports in that crew oars are attached to the boat using oarlocks, while paddles are not connected to the boat. Athletes may compete in several boat classes, ranging from single sculls, occupied by one person, to shells called eights with eight rowers and a coxswain, as well as doubles and fours.

The fact that Archbishop Carroll is one of just five Philadelphia Catholic League schools to possess a crew team can come as a surprise to students. 

“It’s definitely always been an issue with people finding out about the sport,” said head coach Chris Eberz. “That’s the great thing about the sport though in my eyes. When people come in as freshmen, everyone is a novice at it so nobody holds too much of an advantage over another, and that way everyone grows together.”

Established for the spring season in 2012 by now-Principal William Gennaro, the Carroll crew team has seen a multitude of success in its 12 years of existence, particularly in the program’s infancy. 

By the 2013 season, the program included 70-plus student-athletes and so began the program’s most successful era. The success was highlighted by the girl’s varsity eight winning silver in the Stotesbury Regatta in 2013. Stotesbury is the biggest high school regatta in the world ,with hundreds upon hundreds of schools from across the globe competing. The girl’s varsity eight soon went on to gain a ranking of eighth in the entire world following 2013. The program maintained moderate success at a local level, consistently placing well through the 2010s. 

As the school’s enrollment dropped between 2016 and 2018, so did the crew team’s enrollment. By the time now-head coach Chris Eberz came aboard in 2017, the team was struggling to survive.

“I think one of the biggest things that kept us alive was the erg room,” said Gennaro. “For a long time, we were rolling rowing machines into classrooms for our winter practices, so when the renovations were completed in 2018 and we got the erg, it was a saving grace for the team.”

With the addition of the erg room, the team was able to hold on to its declining numbers and began to see a slight increase through the late 2010s as the team continued to win on the water.

However, with Covid-19 shutting nearly all school athletics down for the better half of two seasons, Carroll crew took the brunt of the losses when it came to numbers. In 2021, the team had only six male rowers and eight female rowers, a far cry from the team’s height of 80 in 2013. 

Despite that, in the years following, the team has seen a steady increase in both numbers and success on the water. 

“I honestly think it was just luck,” said junior Colin McClarren. “I don’t think there were any major reasons as to why a certain amount of people joined but it really came down to how many people gave it a shot and how many people stuck with it.”

Now as the team prepares for championship weekend with one of the best-suited teams they’ve had in years, it will come to be determined how the Patriots fair through City Championships along with Stotesbury, where all the team’s boats have a chance for high placements this year.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carroll Times Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *