By Julia Cuttone
“The great thing about rowing is you don’t necessarily have to be an experienced rower [to] teach rowing,” athletic director Debbie De- Jong said. During fall 2018, LIU Post will introduce both women’s and men’s teams for rowing.
“Being a part of not just the rowing team but any other sports team gives you a sense of team, a coach, and a mentor,” DeJong said.
DeJong has a passion for rowing, and wanted to bring it to LIU Post.
“I have been in [an] institution of tremendous rowing at Rutgers and I was in a Division II institution that had rowing; I think they are great athletes who work hard,” she said. “I think anytime we can open up an opportunity at our campus to compete outside of the classroom is a benefit to the institution.”
The process of creating the teams did not take very long, DeJong said. In any sport, she said, “I think we look at opportunities that are in the area. We look at what is offered regionally from grassroots to high school and think about [whether] students [would] be interested in them, [if] it is a growing sport we could have, and who we would compete against in the region.”
DeJong hopes to have an NCAA women’s varsity rowing team in the future.
“Rosters usually go large for a rowing team,” DeJong said, but it “all depends on how many boats of eight compete and how many boats of four compete, and it would also depend on how many players we get.”
St. John the Baptist and St. Anthony’s are two area high schools that offer rowing teams. DeJong said that they will be starting their recruiting process this fall and as they need more players, they will also start looking nationwide.
Rick Hamilton, associate director of recreational sports, said LIU Post has had a crew team for many years.
“The club rowing team has been in our department for a number of years. From about 2002-2011 the team was fairly competitive. Since then the numbers have fallen off a little bit but we always hope to bring them back,” Hamilton said. “Getting student athletes [is] always the most important thing. Finding committed students that will represent the school well and sell the program to others is what [coaches] look for while making a team,” he added.
“I would be happy to start with four boats right away,” DeJong said. The rowing team will most likely be competing and practicing off the river and body of Oyster Bay. There will also be drylands for practice where the team can practice with “erg,” an indoor rowing machine that can be used on land, as well as run and lift weights. “
The process of bringing rowing to LIU Post has not been difficult, stated DeJong.
“There were not many obstacles. We have the support from our administration to start rowing. I think trying to find the perfect coaches is going to be a big piece of it and getting the word out that we are open- ing up an opportunity for both the men’s and women’s side, and doing something competitive is going to be the biggest obstacle or goal going forward.”
DeJong also said rowing is known to be a very expensive sport. The school currently has four rowing shells and ergs.
“We will start with that [equipment], and if we grow, then we need to go to administration and say we need three more boats. It will be a great thing if we need three or four more boats.”
As for the team’s future success, DeJong said her goal is “always succeeding academically,” not just for rowing, but for all student-athletes.
“I think graduating in four years and getting a degree from LIU is also a big piece of winning,” DeJong said, “but I think on the water it would be to row a successful program and compete on a national level.” Students interested in signing up for rowing can contact DeJong at firstname.lastname@example.org.