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Musical Seats


Photo provided by Evan Mauno

Evan Mauno has been on the team for three semesters. Throughout most of this time, he’s rowed at bow. On the varsity team, Mauno has changed seats five times within three weeks.


By Evan Mauno

Varsity Rower

My third semester on LBS Rowing was an experience. In about a three-week period, I changed seats five times — three times for races and twice during practice.

First, I was bow seat in the second men’s varsity-eight at Head of the American, a seat I am comfortable with and accustomed to. I have been at bow seat for most of my time on the team.

For a day of practice following Head of the American, I was placed in a pair. This was now my second time ever in a pair. After several minutes of oar adjustment and wobbliness, the pair was not so bad.

For another practice, one of our coxswains was M.I.A., so coach Rob Edwards made me a coxswain for one of the men’s novice-eights for a day. Having coxed a four once, I was a little scared, but it was actually a lot of fun, and I did not hit anything. After several minutes of learning how to steer the boat via the rudder cables, the anxiety was gone, and I successfully coxed the eight.

Having been on the team for over a year, I knew what to say to stroke seat and the boat. One negative that day was my fit in the coxswain’s seat. I am 5’11’’ and 155lbs, so my hips were tightly rubbing against the hull, and my knees were sticking up high in my seated position.

What was to come was the hardest race I have ever been in, without a doubt. Because of my height and my starboard preference, I was placed at stroke seat of a starboard-rigged four at the Naples Intercollegiate Rowing Challenge (NICRC).

I discovered over these few days of practice and at NICRC how hard stroke seat actually is. Everyone behind stroke is a drone; just following the man or woman in front of them. However, when you are stroke, it is the opposite and everyone follows you. My timing and technique seemed like it was flipped upside-down and backwards. The learning curve was exceptionally high. I got distracted a lot during my first day at stroke, because of only the stern of the boat being in front of me and everything passing by. I chose to stare at the stern so I could focus on consistent timing and technique. After a few days, I stroked the men’s varsity four at NICRC. The mental exercise of being a rower was compounded by being stroke seat.

Finally, for Head of the Harbor, I moved to bow seat in the starboard-rigged four. Having been at starboard for so long and no sculling experience, I lost my bisweptuality. I had to endure days of pain to adjust to port side again. My technique improved and I was comfortable enough on race day to be the port-side bow seat for the men’s varsity four.

Completing Head of the Harbor finished my turn of playing musical chairs in the boats. I value the learning experience the most in rowing, and this past season was no exception. It was rich.