Club Crew moves to new space and buys new equipment

“It was just time,” head coach Megan Prochniak said.

Photo%3A+Submitted+by+Megan+Prochniak
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Club Crew moves to new space and buys new equipment

Photo: Submitted by Megan Prochniak

Photo: Submitted by Megan Prochniak

Photo: Submitted by Megan Prochniak

Photo: Submitted by Megan Prochniak

Jack Goods, jack.goods@mu.edu

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Marquette Crew has a new address.

The team has decided to leave the Milwaukee Rowing Club to establish a place of its own on Mt. Vernon Avenue, across the Menomonee River from the Twisted Fisherman. The moving process began at the start of the school year.

“It was just time,” head coach Megan Prochniak said. “We’re at the point where we have 60 or 70 rowers. We’ve been looking for an opportunity to move out for a few years.”

The team has also begun buying its own boats, adding three fours (boats that sit four rowers) and two eights (boats that sit eight rowers) to their arsenal. It plasn to get one or two more 8’s in the near future.

The boats will be on racks welded onto the side of an alumnus’ storage compartment on the lot, which is only a half mile away from campus. An overhang will also be added, protecting the shells from the weather. The team also rents a small, indoor unit to hold its oars, boat slings and other equipment.

All of this could be a step toward the team eventually having its own boathouse in the future. Prochniak said this is likely more of a pit stop for the team, and it will start looking for a more permanent home in the next year or two.

Moving out of an established rowing club for something brand-new will obviously come with growing pains. If equipment is lost or broken, there may not be a replacement. The warmth of traditional boathouse will be missed during tremulous weather.

“The students are going to have to recognize there’s more responsibility,” Prochniak said. “There’s no backup plan.”

It’s a message that the rowers hear loud and clear.

“It is a great opportunity for the team to grow and become more independent, but with that we also need to become more responsible with our club’s growth and equipment,” said Rick Kaufmann III, the team’s Public Relations Chair.

Prochniak said she hopes that the move will help legitimize the program. The team, entering its 25th year, became more serious over the year’s since its inception. The pride that comes with owning the equipment and location could reignite the commitment level from the team.

“It all goes back to that ownership,” Prochniak said. “When people have ownership, you take it more seriously.”

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Rowers used to run two miles through downtown to the rowing club. The new location will be much closer, allowing it to feel like a part of Marquette’s campus.

“I think it helps with recruiting,” said Alex Campbell, the team’s treasurer. “You can tell future people who want to row for the team, ‘Hey, we’re right by Valley Fields.’ It makes us look even more legitimate.”

As Campbell put it, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” This move is the first step toward added prestige for the program that is gaining steam. In October Crew is sending three boats to the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, one of the top races in the country.

“It’s an opportunity for Marquette rowing to be a competitive team,” Campbell said. “It means we do everything on our own time instead of having to worry about the Milwaukee Rowing Club… We now have full freedom.”

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