The freshmen 8 boat shares their experience leading into their first St. Andrew's Race
Rowing is a big part of the St. Andrews culture, and almost every weekend in the spring, that is shown in full effect. Schools travel from all over to race against St. Andrew’s on Noxontown pond. On March 26, the Boys Freshman 8 got their first chance out on the water to prove themselves. The boat of Roland Bridges ’25, Luke Ketzner ’25, Will Hagberg ’25, Tyrus Roney ’25, Finn Waterston ’25, Ted Williamson ’25, Ethan Kim ’25, Peter Bird ’25, and Erik Liu ’25 had been rowing for only two weeks, but their inexperience did not show in their first race. They got off to a great start holding the lead for the first few minutes. Unfortunately, they were overtaken towards the end of the race by the far more experienced Dematha, who had been racing since the fall. While this group of novices did not win their race, they still accomplished a fantastic feat in their first bit of competition as a part of the St. Andrews rowing team.
When speaking to Roland Bridges ’25 about how he motivates his boat as a coxswain, he said, “A big part of rowing is how all 8 of the rowers are together, and because I’m not rowing with them, it can be hard to motivate them, but I usually talk to them at a St. Andrews level where their daily life gets left behind, and rowing is the only thing in their mind.” Bridges likes to keep the boat fun with everyone joking around, but during race time, he makes sure everyone is locked in and ready to go. A way he has found that motivates them well is the mindset of tunnel vision. Bridges says, “we have to have our eyes on the prize and row as hard as you can. If all eight people are thinking about one thing, everyone tries to hype everyone else up because you are just as strong as your weakest link.” When asked about the impact of the seniors and upperclassmen, Bridges said, “I remember walking out for our first race and hearing all the upperclassmen and more experienced rowers cheering us on. This made me feel as if I had something to prove and that no matter what, they would cheer our boat on.” He knows that the cheers of fellow Saints on race day are what motivates his boat the most. Looking onward in the season, Bridges and his rowers are ready to work hard and improve their craft at their young age.
When talking to stroke seat Luke Ketzner ’25, he said this about what it has been like joining the rowing team, “the first day of preseason was a little intimidating at first. Going down to the boathouse no one really knew what to expect and the more experienced rowers seemed on top of everything.” However, the returning rowers made sure everyone felt welcome in the boathouse. Ketzner spoke about his experience over the past few weeks and his beginning of the season nerves, “even though I was excited to start rowing, I was a little nervous to start something I had little to no experience doing. Over these past few weeks, I have felt much more confident getting out of the water than on that first day of preseason. The culture in the boathouse is always supportive and a fun environment to be a part of.”
St. Andrews historically has had very strong boys 1V 8 boats but everyone has to start somewhere. It is a testament to the team’s culture that the upper formers support this group, knowing they will one day fill their seats and carry on the tradition.