A year ago, the Mason Men’s Crew Club competed in the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championships in Georgia.

McKinney, President of the Mason Men’s Crew Club, remembers the start of the race being calm and collected, with no one joking around or talking. He and his team had been training for this.

Those next six minutes would determine how their hard work would pay off. After counting down his last 20 strokes and hearing the beep of the team’s finish, McKinney knew that his team had finally medaled.

Since McKinney joined during his freshman year, he has been able to see the team grow. The team made petite finals at the Dad Vail Regatta and finished third out of 33 teams at the ACRA Championship.

With these accomplishments under its belt, the team hopes to make it back to these competitions and improve on its finishes from last year.

A sense of teamwork comes about from any timed sport, but especially from rowing. Every team member relies on everyone else and everyone needs to be doing his best for the team to succeed.

Cooperation is needed from every member of the boat from the beginning launch to the last twenty strokes.

The boat must maintain grace and power throughout the entire race. There is no giving up in a sport that can be decided by one-hundredth of a second or less the one whole stroke.

“You can’t blame just one person. It is all about keeping calm and collected as a boat,” McKinney said.

McKinney is one of the best examples the type of people the team is looking for.

McKinney never rowed in high school, but after seeing the sport in the Olympics, he decided it would be an interesting sport to try. McKinney has stuck with the team for his four years at Mason.

The team is willing to take anyone who is going to be able to dedicate his time to all the practices and competitions.

It needs people who will ask themselves in the middle if they can finish the race and say no because of how hard they have been working.

With that answer, they will still continue pushing just as hard until the end of the race.

Students should also know that contrary to what a lot of people may have heard, physical build plays a part in rowing, but is not everything.

“We have a lot of dedicated guys [who] are smaller on the team. Even though they may be a lightweight, someone under 160 pounds, they can pull just as much as the bigger guys on the team,” said McKinney.

No experience is needed to make a difference in a boat.

All someone needs is dedication. A lot of high schools do not have rowing teams because it is an expensive sport, so even a lot of Olympians started out in college.

With a young, but experienced team, Mason Crew Club can only hope to continue improving.

With the passage of more time and more bonding out on the Occoquan River, where the practices are held, it will be interesting to see how far the team will go.