Phil Carney & Wesleyan Men's Rowing

By Sparks Editorial Staff | May 23, 2013

 

"A rising tide lifts all boats." –John F. Kennedy

In his 26th year as the Wesleyan Men's head coach, Phil Carney has seen changes to the sport of rowing. "It has gotten bigger and faster! As a whole, the speed of the Division III and Club level rowing has increased dramatically," states Carney a few days after the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) championship regatta. His top varsity eight place 4th in the final and strong finishes by the second and third crews earned spots on the medals dock.

Carney has also seen increased competition when seeking recruits. "With more programs and good coaches out there, there is a heightened awareness of every good college prospect." In order to become a Wesleyan oarsman a strong academic performance is as important as the erg score. Carney has much faith in the Wesleyan Admissions Office noting, "[They do] a terrific job in selecting students who have the capacity to be successful here." A more recent trend of perspective students opting for Early Decision has also shortened the recruitment timeline.

"…a strong academic performance is as important as the erg score. Carney has much faith in the Wesleyan Admissions Office noting, "[They do] a terrific job in selecting students who have the capacity to be successful here."

The small liberal arts college located in Middletown, Connecticut is known for its historically strong academics. "I believe that Wesleyan offers a unique experience in our conference. We are a slightly larger school than most of our peers, and that allows for greater breadth to our curriculum and a bit more diversity in our student body." For a school with only 2,900 full time undergraduate students, it boasts 40 different academic departments and maintains a 9:1 student to faculty ratio. Wesleyan students also compete in 29 varsity sports.

Coach Carney welcomes freshmen recruits to try to take varsity seats right away. Also in the mix are six walk-ons spread throughout the second and third boats. The crew doesn't row novice or freshmen events and only has the top four boats race. "We do have more recruited athletes than ever before, and at this stage, every guy in our first crew rowed in high school or for a club prior to Wesleyan." A great match for Carney's team is a rower with experience who is committed to learning and competing at a higher level. "It is not unusual for us to see erg scores improve on every test as freshman and sophomores learn how to train properly and on a more year round cycle."

"I believe that Wesleyan offers a unique experience in our conference. We are a slightly larger school than most of our peers, and that allows for greater breadth to our curriculum and a bit more diversity in our student body."

"We try to provide our team with lots of opportunities to improve, and give them the facilities, instruction and coaching to do so." An easily traversed mile of roadway separates the Wesleyan campus and boathouse. On campus the Freeman Athletic Center houses winter training including an indoor track, weight room, and erg room. The Macomber Boathouse along the Connecticut River contains workout facilities, offices, and boat storage.

Wesleyan hopes to rally off their 2012 ECAC win in the Men's Third Varsity Eight. "ECAC medals are hard to win," Carney adds. With classes having come to an end the team will have a few practices to find some more speed. Reflecting on this year's team, "They came in to the year looking to train harder and smarter than the previous years, and certainly did so." The 2013 campaign will come to a close May 12th at the ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championships on Lake Quinsigamond.

"We work hard to accommodate the academic schedules of the students in the program, and we do everything we can to make sure that student/athlete is in the correct order."

The competition to win medals, gain acceptance into college, and ultimately enter the workforce is stiffer than ever. Coach Phil Carney's rowing program and Wesleyan University keep to a strict vision of the undergraduate experience. "We work hard to accommodate the academic schedules of the students in the program, and we do everything we can to make sure that student/athlete is in the correct order."

"In most cases, our best rowers are some of our best students. We find that a high achiever is generally focused and driven in everything that he is involved with. As the saying goes, 'A rising tide lifts all boats'!"