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The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

Coxswain Apple Gould-Schultz on Rowing’s Strong Start

Apple Gould-Schultz, coxswain of Clarks rowing team. Photo courtesy of Clark athletics.
Apple Gould-Schultz, coxswain of Clark’s rowing team. Photo courtesy of Clark athletics.

Clark’s rowing team began their season Saturday, Oct. 7, in the Head of the Snake at Lake Quinsigamond. Three boats competed in the 4,000-meter race: the novice eight, varsity eight and the second varsity eight. The varsity eight rowers were Apple Gould-Schultz, Katie Woods, Emma McLellan, Gwyn Sonneveldt, Maggie Matthews, Anna Tinklenberg, Robbie Southall, Anna Cavangah and Charlotte Leavitt. The second varsity eight rowers were Mira Mills, Juju Kaiser, Lu Powdermaker, Syd Gruneiro, Izzy Gustavsson, Anne Culhane-Williams, Amelia Clark, Sophie Levengood and Basya Silverman. The novice eight rowers were Audrey Saben, Jordan Cambre, Toni Babson, Lindsey Wilder, Giovanna Iosso, Abi Luetjen, Hannah Crook, Victoria Weirich-Freiberg and Carmella Martone. 

Each boat has a coxswain steering the boat and coaching the rowers during a race; the varsity eight coxswain was fifth-year Apple Gould-Schultz. “My job is to act as a coach in the boat essentially,” said Gould-Schultz. “I’m in charge of safety, making sure we don’t crash into anybody, and also putting them in the best position for success. So, I spend those 4000 meters making calls for taking on a different crew and rowing past them, cleaning up our techniques so that we’re more effective and how we’re applying power to the stroke and motivational calls.”

The team had four official practices on the water alongside two days a week of in-house training. Sometimes Gould-Schultz will take a group out on the water. This was a change for returning rowers because the NCAA altered its rules for the number of weeks the team could practice to the number of days. “We’re treating the fall kind of like a development camp,” the coxswain said. “We still want to do well, obviously, but our main season is the spring. So, for the fall, it’s been a lot of getting technique down and putting in volume.” The new training schedule has given the team more time to rest as their days start at 5 a.m., four days a week. 

Before a race, the teams have “boat meetings” in which they discuss their race plan. They consider what calls are going to be made for technique, and what the rowers want to hear during a race from the coxswain. “I kind of go out of those meetings and I put together the best race plan that we can have for that day, and it helps being on home turf, because you know where you’re supposed to be on the water,” said Gould-Schultz. “There’s always small changes we can make in technique… but the mentality going in was, ‘this is where we’re at 100 percent; let’s hit 100 percent and let’s see if we can get 105 percent out of this race’ and then evaluate, coming out of it.” 

During the race, the plan is put into action. On the Lake Quinsigamond course, rowers call the first major landmark “the narrows.” At this stage, it’s important to remember that you can’t sprint the whole way, Gould-Schultz said – but still, getting in a winning mentality is important “so that you can maintain aggression for the whole piece.” 

Once the boat is through the narrows, the lake opens up, with the next landmark being the Route 9 bridge. “The tactic for that is to take that aggression from the first half and just stretch it out as long as we can,” Gould-Schultz said. “At some point, you’re going to lose that feeling if you don’t hear people cheering or really feel a sense of staying together,” she said. To combat this, Gould-Schultz gets the rowers to focus on maintaining pace while cleaning up their technique.  “That was a really good opportunity to hold off other crews that were trying to pass us,” she said.

The varsity eight was able to place eighth overall with a time of 15:45.38. 

Clark raced against nine other schools in the regatta. There were a total of 18 boats on the water, including the second Clark varsity 8. Gould-Schultz recalled being neck-and-neck with the crew from Smith College, who had taken half the race to catch up with the Cougars. “I remember making a call as Smith [was] holding even with us,” she said. “I was like, ‘let’s make them worry about how long it’s taken them to walk past us,’” the coxswain said. “It never feels good to be walked, but it always feels good to make them sweat for it.”

Overall, the first race of the season went well for the three boats. “I’m really, really happy with just how everything went and how it felt,” said Gould-Schultz. She believes their strong performance is a good sign of what’s to come.

Every team has some type of tradition before a game or race. The tradition of Clark’s rowing team involves a potato. “The night before our first race, somebody goes to where everybody lives – dorms, apartments, what have you – and they will leave a potato covered in stickers,” Gould-Schultz said. “I don’t know what it means, but it’s always nice to get it. I’ve got my fifth potato sitting on my porch,” she said. Along with the potatoes, the team has bonding activities every Friday for the team to check-in and socialize with each other.  

The next race for the team, Head of the Charles, is in Boston on Oct. 22. “Head of the Charles is my race,” Gould-Schultz said. “It’s all twists and turns and Head of the Snake is almost basically a straight line, which is a challenge in and of itself,” she said. In the Charles, though, there’s a minimum of 40 crews per event. When the race starts, there’s “so much noise the whole way up the course,” Gould-Schultz said, because “the whole city of Boston comes out, and I have my friends from home whose siblings text me pictures of my boat going by.” Because of all its complexities, the race is very technical for coxswains like Gould-Schultz. “Every year, I work on making it a better one and putting my crew in a better position,” she said. “I’m excited to see what we can do this year, because I love the Head of the Charles.”

After their race in Boston, Clark’s rowers will return to Worcester for the Wormtown Chase on Saturday, Oct. 28, concluding the fall rowing season. The Cougar crew will get back on the water in spring.

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