Edsman Insider Interview with Coach Carlson of the SEHS Rowing Team


Matthew Houser ‘15
What this team has done so far in the past couple of months is nothing short of amazing (training and completing  a 54.4 mile row for Cancer and Autism Research), but what they have planned next is nothing short of inconceivable. That is simply winning the Midwest Championship in their third year as a program. I was able to have the head varsity coach Coach Carlsen answer a couple of questions as to how this team has made it to where they stand now.
Matt Houser (MH): It’s been three years since this program started back in 2012, how has this team grown into the potential contenders they can be for the Midwest Championship so quickly?
Coach Carlson (CC):The team has grown at a rapid rate both with bodies and speed.  Just in our second year (Last Year) we sent 2 boats to the SRAA National Championship.  That is unheard of.  We are hoping that this year we have more boats move on to Nationals, and be even more successful.
MH:The team has their work cut for them if they want to win Midwest. How far is the team to competing against some of the other juggernauts of rowing such as New Trier(Michigan), St. Ignatius, and Central Catholic(Pennsylvania)?
CC:We are faster than last year.  It is difficult to say because Midwest is only a 1500 meter race, while the Fall races are all 5000 meter races
MH:You started out with 23 guys in the 2012 inaugural fall season and still have over half of that foundation left. How important has that foundation been to the coaching staff towards the growth of this team?
CC:The original members have been a tremendous help to us as a staff.  They know what it takes to be a successful team, and with their leadership the novices know what they have to do to be as successful as the original core.
MH:Even though it’s still fall season with winter right around the corner, Midwest is only 212 days away. How crucial is the winter training to transitioning the team into Spring season?
CC: Winter training is just as important as the fall season with regards to gaining speed for the Spring.  We use the Fall to build up the cardio needed to go long distances and winter training will be more muscle memory training with regards to weight lifting and speed work.
MH:The crew team’s current roster is a total of 53 student athletes, how close are you guys to getting to the roster goal the coaching staff wants for Midwest contention?
CC:We can be successful with the current members.  Having more members is always good, because you have more people to choose the best lineups.  I believe floating 4 8’s on varsity and 3 8’s on novice will give us our best shot.
MH:Rowing in general is one of the most unique sports on the planet. Unless you are in a one man scull you have to trust in one another in the eights, fours, and/or the doubles you guys race in to make the boat feel light and fast. How important is it to have that ability for the rowers to trust in each other?
CC:Everyone, including coaches, need to trust every member of the team to hold their own.  If someone is slacking people tend to notice and row differently when that person is in the shell.  When you have a unified group, it makes everything much easier because that trust is there.
The Eagles will compete in one (or possibly two depending on if the 1v1 row against Ignatius happens) more race in the fall season before moving on into winter.