By Amit Shilton
At six in the morning, Ryerson’s varsity rowing team comes from across the city to train at the Bayside Rowing Club. This summer, they might be able to share a cab.
The team is looking to move into Campus Common, a new apartment building, together to train over the summer and boost team chemistry.
Since the team relies on good weather to train, summer is the ideal practice time. And at a commuter campus, where most of the students live out of town, it cuts down on the athletes travel time.
“If you want to do well, row in the summer. It’s become our mantra,” said coach Dominic Kahn. “How the heck is anyone going to row in the summer unless they’re staying in the city?”
Dean Hayward, the team’s captain, said this is a chance to ensure good turnout for all training sessions.
“If one guy doesn’t show up for practice, the entire crew can’t go out in the water,” he said.
The 12-storey apartment on the corner of Church and Gerrard Streets opened its doors to residents last Thursday. A standard studio room at Campus Common measures 330 sq. ft. and rent for a double room costs $765 per month. The rooms also come outfitted with kitchens, so athletes won’t have to rely on eating cafeteria food.
The housing complex is also sponsoring the team by donating an amenities room. The area, which measures approximately 1,400 sq. ft., will be used as a training and weight room.
The move is a significant upgrade for the team, which was forced to train in the third floor of Kerr Hall West until this year when it was deemed a fire hazard by the school. The team used to practice on rowing machines in the hallways as students would walk by on their way to class.
“I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened,” Kahn said. “This is going to be huge for the team.”
When the rowers met with Ryerson President Sheldon Levy and vice provost students Zouheir Fawaz, the admins were inspired to help the team out. The two decided to outfit the team’s new training room with 10 rowing machines, replacing their decade-old equipment. Kahn said the donation has moved Ryerson to the middle of the pack in terms of school funding for rowing squads within the province.
“Our school has been very supportive and very encouraging,” Kahn said.
The team has also taken fundraising matters into their own hands, raising $13,000 through Ryerson’s new adopt-an-athlete program. Acquiring donations through local businesses, the team was able to buy a new boat after theirs broke down during a race earlier this year.
Ernie’s hot dog stand will also help out the team’s cause, donating 50 cents from every hot dog sold on Wednesday. The rowers are also planning on holding a spandex themed pub night at The Ram in the Rye later this year.
“We just hope to make our presence around campus,” said veteran rower and aerospace engineering student Nik Trutiak.
This year, the team reached its goal by making the final in all of the men’s events. This is the second season of Kahn’s three-year plan, the next step is ensuring the team races to a medal finish.
“I’m guaranteeing three medals,” Kahn said. “What colour medal? We’ll see.”