story David Chappell

YNC Crew

Bernie Chen ’18 and Nicholas Siew ’18 in Sri Lanka. (Nicholas Siew)

The Yale-NUS College Rowing Team achieved great success at their first ever rowing competition over the break. The team managed to place third in the semifinals of two categories, the double and single sculls. While many students were still recuperating from a busy semester, Bernie Chen ’18 and Nicholas Siew ’18 headed to Sri Lanka for Yale- NUS’s inaugural rowing competition. They decided to make the 73rd Amateur Rowing Association of the East and Far East Amateur Rowing Association Regatta their first. This was a bold move, since it is the second oldest event of its kind in the world.

Chen noted the team tried to “keep an open mind,” despite competing against people that were on average much older and more experienced than them. Similarly, the team did not allow the levels of tradition, such as ceremonies, flag raising, and oath taking, to put them off. Chen remarked that they “definitely didn’t feel like [they] were out of place.”

Originally the team had only planned to compete in the double sculls event, but due to the prestige, effort, and fees associated with the Regatta they decided to enter into all eligible events to capitalize on the experience. Chen was concerned that the proximity of his singles race with the doubles may have impinged upon their performance in the doubles. He was, however, optimistic that they can address the problem of overloading when they have more members, as they can divide the team into the races.

Siew and Chen are creating a recreational rowing club—separate from the competitive team—to spark interest in the sport. The club will cater to those who are trying a new sport for leisure and also those interested in competing. The Dean of Student’s Office has promised to cover all fees for club members.

The team, however, needs funding if it is to represent Yale-NUS regularly. In preparation for the Regatta both Siew and Chen trained twice a week at a local reservoir, but as of yet, the team has not paid the associated fees. Additionally, they are hoping to hire a coach and acquire a rowing machine for the gym. Commenting on the need for funding, Siew, who was recently selected for the Singapore National Squad, said that the rowing club has been contacting the athletics department, but that the process has been slow.

Nevertheless, they are optimistic that the administration will increasingly support both the club and team as the club gains members. Chen said, “As we progress as a rowing club that has a large focus on recreational rowing towards a more competitive and team focus, we hope that the school will recognize this and support us.” Currently the club has twenty members, while the competitive team has six.

The rowing club held its first general meeting on Monday Jan. 19.

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