The Boston University men’s crew team got a glimpse into its program’s future last Saturday at the Green Monster Head Freshman Invitational Regatta in Hanover, N.H. The half recruit, half walk-on freshmen group fielded an A team and B team, with the A squad finishing 10th and the B unit placing 11th out of 20 boats.
The final standings consolidated each school’s A and B scores into a placing. BU finished sixth out of 10 teams.
‘At the end of the day, sixth place is sixth place,’ BU coach Dave LeFebvre said. ‘Ideally, you want to do better than that.’
LeFebvre, a former co-captain for BU, is in his 12th season as freshman coach. He took the job after spending five years on the U.S. National Team from 1993-97.
The A and B teams registered times of 15:08 and 15:10, respectively, amid clear conditions, a tail wind and a tail current that allowed talent to reveal itself.
‘We were up against teams that recruit more than we do,’ LeFebvre said. ‘A lot of our walk-ons come from places where people don’t even know what crew is.’
‘Even on the East Coast and West Coast crew isn’t that big. But in places like the Midwest, it’s almost non-existent.’
Dartmouth College’s A team won the single boat overall title with a time of 14:13 on the 2.8-mile course. But it was Trinity College that was able to combine fourth and fifth-place finishes to gain the overall title. Northeastern University and Harvard University took second and fourth overall, respectively.
LeFebvre stressed the steepness of the learning curve on the younger rowers. He said there is an accelerated pace in learning technical skills when competing against big-time schools.
‘I was very encouraged by our more novice guys. They looked very strong and look like solid athletes,’ he said. ‘They look like a new crew every single time out. They’ll be better this weekend than the last.’
LeFebvre attributed the quick improvement to an intense training regiment.
‘We follow a very scientific and modern regiment. We are out there every morning. We lift weights twice a week in the afternoon. Three days a week we do an extra aerobic workout.’
The crew dedicates about 20 hours per week to practice.
‘It’s really hard to tell if any one guy is improving more than another. They literally are all in the same boat together,’ LeFebvre said. ‘Our coxswains have a better idea of what’s going on in the boat.’
The Green Monster Head was BU’s third meet of the year with eight remaining, including the Foot of the Charles Nov. 22 at DeWolfe Boathouse.
‘By spring,’ LeFebvre said, ‘we’ll be one of the top teams in the country.’