Senior Scott Morgan, who won the U-23 title at CRASH-B's last season, will defend his mark this weekend at the annual indoor competition in Boston. Morgan pulled a 5:57.2 in 2009, taking the top spot in the collegiate division, and finishing fourth overall, behind three National Team members. This season, Morgan and the rest of the Bears will again square off against a talented field of rowers, and will look to unofficially kick off the 2010 spring season with a win.
With the competition fast approaching, Morgan discussed the CRASH-B racing and the upcoming season:
1) What was it like to win the collegiate championship last season, including beating out teammate Matt Wheeler? How would you compare that to some of your notable wins in the boat, such as EARC's last season?
A: Winning the Under-23 championship last season was a big thrill, even though I didn't set a personal best in the event. What I was also proud of personally was although I finished fourth place overall, the only three people to finish ahead of me were all Olympians and World Championship medalists. It's really inspiring to row against that type of competition, and they are all people I emulate. My favorite part of the championship last year, however, was that my teammate Matt Wheeler was on the medals podium with me because he pulled the second-fastest U-23 time. I wouldn't have won unless he and my other teammates had been pushing me to the limit in practice everyday, and it wouldn't have been as satisfying to be up there without him. As for how winning a personal race like Crash-B's compares to winning a team race like the Eastern Sprints or an team international race like Henley Royal Regatta: it pales in comparison. The World Indoor Rowing Championship is a personal event, and the team triumphs are infinitely more satisfying. Racing at Crash-B's is simply a stepping stone towards team success in the spring season.
2) What kinds of workouts have you been doing to get ready for CRASH-B's this year? Do you have a particular strategy in mind for the race?
A: We haven't really been honing our training towards the Crash-B World Indoor Rowing Championships. While it is a large and public event, it is mostly a competition just for fun since the biggest races are the team races in the Spring. So we've been doing a lot of volume (lots and lots of miles) which doesn't really prepare you for a 2,000 meter erg race in February, but that mode of training will be extremely beneficial in the springtime. As for my race strategy, all I can say is that I'll try and go as fast as possible, but I'll have to keep any other strategy under wraps since it's going to be difficult enough as it is to win.
3) Are there any other teammates who you think are poised to break through for big PR's at CRASH-B's this year?
A: The squad is incredibly deep this year, and it honestly wouldn't surprise me if everyone on the team rowed a personal best. There is a palpable energy in the boathouse, and every guy has been grinding it out everyday. In terms of other guys who have the potential to pull medal-winning times, I think that Cole Bonner, Christian Crynes, and Brent Mylrea are three guys who have really been impressive on the erg this year. But to be honest, there are a lot of other guys who have been training incredibly well so I expect plenty of guys will pull personal bests. The sophomore class has been particularly impressive, as they have used their momentum from their win at Eastern Sprints in the freshman event last year, and turned it into a voracious appetite for training. Those guys are the future of the squad, and they have great potential.
4) With winter training nearing an end, what type of season do you foresee for Brown in the spring? What will some of your goals be, both as an individual and for the team?
A: I forsee that just as in the last few years we will be in the upper echelon of teams in the country. If the squad keeps training with the intensity of the past few months, I think we will again be in the national championship discussion. Our varsity 8 finished fourth in the nation last year, and our team finished 3rd overall, and I believe that we have more depth and more experience this year. There are plenty of fast programs out there, and to win a National Championship we will have to be close to perfect, but I believe we are a team that has the potential to win it all. But the main philosophy of the team, especially head coach Paul Cooke, is not to worry so much about winning races at this point in the year, but instead focusing on the fundamentals of training. If we can train now in the winter months with intelligence, determination, and passion, we will be able to win races in the spring.