Holy Cross Rowing Diary: In The Shell With Abby Talcott

Abby Talcott

Diary Entries
March 30, 2005
March 29, 2005
February 18, 2005
February 7, 2005

March 30, 2005

We dove head first into our Spring season by following Jesuits with a race against Coast Guard and Wesleyan in Lowell, Massachusetts. We continued preparation on the ergs indoors and with a few days on the Merrimac River prior to the race. Lake Quinsigamond is still stubbornly frozen, so the team patiently loaded up and traveled to Lowell to gain some precious water time.

Once race day hit us, it may have been a combination of nerves and the cold that made our start tight, short, and overly aware of our surrounding competition. We followed the race with a strong second thousand meters, but it was not enough in the end. While we stepped away from Wesleyan with a clear margin, Coast Guard finished the race 1.2 seconds before our boat. Rather than dwelling on the shaky race, we stepped away from it with a few lessons. If nothing else, the race against Coast Guard and Wesleyan was one spent shaking off any tension or anxiety. Afterwards, we the shed off the shell of apprehensive reserve. What is left is a hungry boat of controlled aggression that will calmly and confidently walk through any of those who have the courage to paddle up to the start beside us.

Our confidence and expectation of success should not be bruised but deserved and righteous. We have proven our potential to ourselves and to those who will be sitting ahead and behind of us in our boats in countless practices and pieces. What comes next is keeping our heads in our own boat and simultaneously demonstrating our strength in racing by leaving our competition behind in our wake. I know I speak for myself and the team as a whole when I say that I look forward to getting the chance to put these words into action this weekend in our races against Simmons and the University of New Hampshire. As a team mate and a good friend of mine put it, its time to win, and winning will be endlessly more worthwhile when it is with a team like ours, next to those friends who shape our boats, exhaling triumphantly together at the finish line.

Until Next Time,
Abby Talcott

 

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March 29, 2005

Much has changed and progressed since my last entry. After a long, hard winter indoors, the team was enthusiastic and very much ready to put all of our work together on the water. Over spring break, we traveled to Cocoa Beach, Florida, where we spent a week training-earning a handful of blisters, tightening friendships with team mates, and supplementing hard workouts with lots of eating along the way. We made the most of the water time available and concentrated a mound of progress into that short time. As individuals, we truly asked the most of ourselves, as we continued to tap into our overflowing inner reservoir of power and aggression. As a team, we trust one another to extract all of that energy in a controlled, efficient way, so that our racing season reflects our ultimate power and might.

After we spent a week cutting through the blue water of Florida, with dolphins and manatees swimming beside our boats, we returned to the snow and cold of Worcester. As difficult as it was to head back indoors to the ergs after tasting how naturally all our work fell into place on the water, we kept our heads and spirits up high, through midterms and heavy coursework, in looking forward to the Jesuit Invitational.

We stepped up to the Jesuit Invitational in Camden, New Jersey with only a week's worth of water time and a handful of sick rowers. Nevertheless, we kicked the season off with a sturdy start. We pressed off of Loyola, Fairfield, St. Joseph's, and Georgetown's B boat and crossed the finish line seconds after Boston College and Georgetown's A boat. Considering the fact that this race was early in the season and one tackled with limited water time, we were reassured that holding our own with a handful of reputable Jesuit crews was a decent starting point from which to expand and grow as the season progresses. I am anxiously and enthusiastically looking forward to feeling the acceleration of the boat as we add onto our technique, strength, and speed and apply that effectively and successfully in future races.

Until Next Time,
Abby Talcott

 

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February 18, 2005

I figure I may as well jump into the thick of it all since I started with a hearty introduction in my last entry. This is probably the most difficult time of the year to be on the crew team. One fundamental that many rowers seem to share is an appreciation for the surrounding environment we are privileged enough to be able to row in. To watch the sunrise on Lake Quinsigamond and to breathe in the fresh air can add a pleasant twist to even the most grueling practice. To be stuck inside, sitting on an erg, with the meter glaring at you, is a trying situation.

Despite our eagerness to row on the water, being stuck indoors is not what is most challenging about this time of the year. We are now building the strength and the base that will carry us into a successful racing season. In order to facilitate that transition, we have been toughing through difficult erg pieces and lifts. Workouts are demanding, they are sweaty, long and taxing. Nevertheless, it seems best not to consider this time of year a daunting, burdensome one that we must bear through. To fully engage and embrace rowing at Holy Cross is to pause for a moment and take a second look. To wipe away the sweat, to catch one's breath, and to take a glance at the surrounding environment provides a reassuring perspective. If coach Diggins and our assistant coach, Lindsay Beauregard, are not following alongside our boat in a launch on the water, they are dodging between ergs to push people to have the strongest row and best technique possible. When our coxswains are not sitting in the boat with us and calling out supportive commands, then they are standing right beside us during a long piece, offering the same motivating utterances. A priceless word of encouragement from a friend who is as tired and breathless as you can mean as much from beside you on an erg as it does from ahead or behind of you in the boat. Reassurance is readily available to every woman on the team who is continually emptying all that she has in order to contribute to a stronger, faster boat. To exchange that reassurance from all angles in order to overcome the physical and mental challenges will provide a solid base for this spring's racing season.

The lake is melting slowly but surely. We are all getting stronger, tougher and more confident. As much as we have all improved thus far, there is still a great deal of potential that we can look forward to tapping into. This is the faith that I hope we all carry along as we power through the long practices and the heavy lifts.

Until Next Time,
Abby Talcott

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February 7, 2005

Hi! I'm Abigail, and I'm a junior sociology major at Holy Cross. When I was looking at colleges, I read that Holy Cross is a place where I would be surrounded by people who appreciate a balance between working hard and having fun. When I came to visit the school, the comforting, warm feeling that Holy Cross exudes struck me as did the apparent beauty of the campus. Together, the two were the cherry on the sundae, so I naturally decided to apply early decision. The opportunity to come to Holy Cross, to be a student here, to row here, and to befriend the people that I have, has been a true blessing thus far.

Crew had always been an appealing sport to me, but from a great distance. I played field hockey throughout high school. I crossed over from wearing an oversized kilt in an aggressive contact sport to adorning an equally eccentric unisuit in a fiercely competitive sport where the only contact is between the blade and the water. The fulfillment and enjoyment of competition and camaraderie in field hockey in high school has been heightened in rowing in college. With crew, what has made the successful races so sweet and the hardest practices so bearable has been the team. We are a unit, a network, a family of parts that melds together to form an undefeatable whole.

I want to take a moment to consider and acknowledge those of you who are reading this. My hope in this diary of a Holy Cross student rower is to realistically represent my experiences. I hope to give an honest, insightful portrayal of my life as a rower and a student at Holy Cross to fellow Holy Cross students and families, to prospective students and rowers, to alumni, and to others who are curious about the college and the sport. At the same time, in following with this intent of honesty, I admit that I do not expect to be able to fully reveal every nook and cranny of what it is to be a member of the Holy Cross crew team. A subtlety of rowing here at Holy Cross is the impossibility of fully expressing the joy, the excitement, the relief, the pain, and the beauty of the sport. It is something that is enjoyed and beneficially endured by those who engage in crew themselves. Nevertheless, I will share my perspective as best as I can as a representation of the tremendously powerful heart that is the Holy Cross Varsity Women's Crew team.

Until Next Time,
Abby Talcott

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