The Davidson College Crew began with Frank Crawley, who in 1990 acquired the team’s first shell from the then disbanding University of North Carolina Charlotte Crew Team. This wooden shell, called Schneidawitz, was a far cry from today’s sleek racing shells. Up to this point, UNCC used the Davidson College Lake Campus to launch their own club crew team. When the team disbanded, Frank Crawley and the Davidson Crew’s original members adopted the outdoor racks, which are still used by the Lake Campus today, to store their shell.
About two years later, two students – Josh Peklo ’97 and Jay Hinton ’97 – took over the leadership of the crew. Hinton was an experienced rower from a well-established program in Edge Water, outside Orlando, Florida, and because the team’s first official coach. Peklo became president of the club. Through fundraising and the college’s athletic department, Peklo expanded the team’s equipment. The team soon bough eight spoons with black shafts from Hinton’s high school for an astounding $50 apiece. Today, an inexpesive oar costs about $250. Together, the team sanded and smoothed out the blades, which Peklo painted with Davidson colors.
The crew is composed of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and
seniors from all over the country and world. No prior rowing experience is
required. In fact, almost none of us rowed before coming to Davidson.
We row on Lake Norman at the Davidson College Lake Campus, which is about a 10 minute drive from the College.
Practice times vary by team, although practices are
generally in the afternoon. Water practices are held at the Lake Campus. Other
practices may happen in Baker Sports Complex, at the boathouse at Lake Campus,
or in the gym in the Alvarez College Union.
Though we do work closely with the Director of Club Sports at Davidson, the crew is predominantly run by students; this includes coaching. Both the novice men’s and novice women’s teams have upperclassmen students act as coaches. The varsity men’s and women’s teams each elect a captain, who is responsible for creating workouts and executing practices.
As a team, we attend three regattas each semester. At the beginning of each season, everyone votes on which regattas to attend. In the fall, we compete in 5K head races; in the spring, we compete in 2K sprint races. Because regattas are generally held on Saturday mornings, we leave on Friday afternoon and return on Saturday evening.