FRIDAY, MARCH 09, 2012
Focused Soloway reflects team as rowing opener nears
The JU men’s rowing team gets its season under way Saturday and coxswain Andrew Solloway’s focus indicates the Dolphins are ready to row now and plan for the future.

“Practices (which began about two months ago) have gone from long, steady rows to more power and focus on technique,’’ Soloway said. “The closer you get to racing season and the deeper you get in the season your practice goes from building your cardio to building your race plan and defining your technique within certain boats.’’

The Dolphins will enter five boats as they meet both Temple and Stetson on the Hatters’ course at Hontoon State Park.

The idea, according to Soloway, is to begin work now on race planning down the road.

“In the first race you build a plan as the race progresses, but as the season progresses our plan will become more defined,’’ he said. “It evolves starting over next couple of races. We’re looking for ideas for how a race plan should go in May (at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament). Racing this weekend is a big deal but what we’re focused on is the one race we have at the end of May.’’

The final piece of the practice puzzle has been working on starts this week.

“We’ve been working on our start sequences which is the first five strokes to get the boat up to speed,’’ he said. “It takes about 12 strokes to get the boat to full speed; the first five are the most crucial.’’

Despite all the practice time, Soloway, an economics/business administration major, says coaches do a pretty good job keeping monotony out of the picture heading into the season.

“Winter training gets very monotonous,’’ he said. “The coaches have a lot of variety (in the spring) which makes it less monotonous but you have to understand that with what we’re doing now if there is any degree of monotony it is 100 percent necessary because u have to build your level of toughness.’’

There’s not much that would keep the team from getting better.

“The only thing that should stop us from improving is when conditions are un-rowable and when that happens we find other ways to train,’’ Soloway, who has been a coxswain eight years, said. “The point of our training is that when we hit those points where we back down, we want to push those points to where it’s the last stroke of the race.’’

That is spoken like a true coach which Soloway, 5-7, 120 pounds, describes as a major part of being a boat’s coxswain.

“We’re an assistant coach on the water,’’ he said. “As a coxswain, the main focus is to keep the crew safe and to steer. A coxswain is an assistant coach in practice or the race and the object is to steer the straightest or fastest course whether it’s a head race or a straight course.’’

Not an easy task during the heat of the battle.

“We lay down the race plan and the coxswain makes sure the plan unfolds in the boat,’’ he said. “During practice as an assistant coach in the boat we have to be aware of what drills we’re doing and sometimes take the coach’s words and translate them into the boat. Sometimes it’s our job to dumb things down; sometimes it’s our job to make things sound more technical to speak to different rowers. I know the personalities of the rowers a little better than the coaches because of the way we interact off the water. You have to speak their language.’’

Soloway will be in the Varsity 8 Micasa with Scott DelVecchio, Brian Cosmillo, Greg VanOekel, Bernard Vingilis, Jeremy Sobiech, Andy Davis, Chase Rowe and Matt Outlaw.

Tom Richards will be coxswain in Big Bob with Chris Ottie, Jared Low, Parker Lawler, Shane Kennedy, Preston Weinard, Andrew Bechtold, Brian Tye and Sean Carney. The Freshman 8 will have David Waugh at coxswain with Tim Easterling, Matt Thomas, Drew Allen, Jacob Strauss, Stephen Marra, Jacob Motes, Josh Holt and Shawn Macklefresh aboard.

The 4s will have Ben Hayes at coxswain with Easterling, Thomas, Chris Morgan and Bechtold and Troy Troupe and Jesse Brantman will be in the 2s.

- Jim Nasella