Athlete Feature: Lukas Grattan
After being introduced four years ago by Athletic Director Mr. John Pizzi, Riverdale’s crew team, led by senior Lukas Grattan, is starting to become quite popular amongst student athletes. Initially with no cuts, boys’ and girls’ crew is now a more competitive team that students have to try out for and this year’s crew team has almost two times as many athletes as last year’s team.
While most people think crew is a relaxed sport, in reality it is the complete opposite. Lukas Grattan, one of the crew team’s senior captains, said, “crew is probably one of the most painful sports. But after the grind, it’s so satisfying when you get on the water and win races.” After four years on the team, Grattan has become well acquainted with the rigors that accompany the sport. Grattan has served as the boys’ “stroke” seat, the most important position on the boat in which the rower sets the pace for the rowers behind him.
When asked what exactly it was about crew that interested him, he noted, “I joined the team my freshman year… I thought it would be a cool activity because it’s not your everyday kind of sport.” Grattan is glad that he joined when he was a freshman, as he has grown to love the sport over the past few years. In fact, Grattan plans on joining the crew team at Franklin & Marshall College next year.
Although the average race only lasts about seven to eight minutes, the amount of work that is put in for these races is what counts the most. The crew team has practice six times a week: three on the water and three off. Rowing on an erg, a stationary rowing machine, isn’t the same as rowing on water according to Grattan: “It’s just not the same technique.”
The team does its on-water practices at the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse on the Harlem River. Time spent practicing on the water is extremely important because of the experience it provides. There is nothing quite like being out on the water, so actual training on the water ensures nothing is new to them during an actual race. When asked about how taxing it is to be rowing on the water three days a week, Grattan described its significance to the team: “Considering the sport and how valuable time on the water is, I don’t mind it at all… We’re going to have a very fit team and that’s what we need.”
What makes this sport so special, though, is that the rowers participate in all types of workouts: cardio, weight training, high intensity/interval training, yoga, and more. The two coaches that implement this training are Claudia Loeber and Anna Hiatt.
Loeber and Hiatt, who are both first-year coaches at Riverdale, are the team’s fourth set of coaches since the sport was introduced to the school. The two coaches value the importance of training hard with very few breaks and a determined attitude. Grattan expressed his positive thoughts regarding the coaching change: “It’s tough having to meet new coaches every year, but I like the coaches this year. They really know what they’re doing; they have a lot of experience combined and they push us to be better everyday.” With strong leadership from Grattan and valuable experience from the new coaches, the Riverdale crew team seems to be in good hands to continue to grow and develop as a Riverdale sport.