The Sacred Heart women’s rowing team are well into their preparations for their spring season under the direction of new head coach Lucas Wilhelm. Wilhelm, who was hired following the conclusion of the team’s fall season in November, is eager to get his Sacred Heart coaching career underway.
“I’m very excited to get started,” Wilhelm said. “I think the team is in a really good spot. They have tons of potential, they’re fired up, and they’re rowing together really well.”
Wilhelm has only been leading the team for a few months, but he has already started implementing new ideas and concepts into his practices and workouts. At the forefront of his changes is more concentration on the mental side of rowing.
“Rowing is something that allows you to push yourself in a lot more ways than just physically,” Wilhelm said. “We’re trying to get better at caring for each other and we’re trying to get better at being disciplined.”
Another way Wilhelm has been trying to get his athletes to focus on their mental state is by having them keep winter journals. In these journals, each athlete records their workout, how they performed, and jots down some thoughts on a discussion question he poses to them at the end of practice.
“He’s focused a lot on our mentality, like what kind of teammate you want to be and the team culture you want to create,” junior Amber Fischer said. “I think this is really helpful because rowing, as much as it’s a physical sport, it’s also a mental sport.”
After spending years training with the United States national rowing team, Wilhelm is ready to transfer the knowledge he has picked up along the way to his team.
“I want the girls on this team to make it theirs, and jump in with both feet,” Wilhelm said. “I’m putting them through the gauntlet in training because there is so much untapped potential and I want them to see the fruits of their labor in the spring.”
The rowing team is also actively recruiting new athletes that may be interested in joining the team.
“It’s a pretty life changing experience,” senior captain Jess Wallace said. “The reason we’re pushing for recruiting is because we want to give that experience to so many other people who may not have the opportunity to do so.”
Of the 12 seniors graduating at the end of the season, 10 were walk-ons.
“We want to be able to keep that mixture of walk-ons and recruits,” Wallace said.
Wallace was a walk-on, as was another team captain, junior Kat Burnside.
“Joining the team freshman year just made me a better person, and it made me want to strive to be better in all aspects of my life,” Burnside said. “It honestly is such a motivator for you to get up in the morning. Competition is fun, winning is fun, so every day you wake up to do that and I feel like you can apply what you learned from rowing into your day-to-day life.”
The rowing team has their first meet of the spring season on March 11 in Deland, Florida against Stetson University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and Jacksonville University.
Anyone who is interested in joining the rowing team can contact Coach Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling him at (475) 988-7873. They can also contact assistant coach Megan Hinkle at email@example.com.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.