Stephen Frazier Wong and Clemson Rowing

By Sparks Editorial Staff | April 2, 2015

In summer 2014, Clemson University Women’s Rowing hired new head coach Stephen Frazier Wong. Frazier Wong had just finished two highly successful years with Nova Southeastern, bringing home an NCAA Championship in his first season and a second place finish in 2014. Previous to NSU, Frazier Wong spent seven years at the University of North Carolina.

Rounding out the staff are assistant coaches Samantha Sarff, who came with him from NSU, and long time University of Texas assistant Caroline King.

To Frazier Wong, the values of “caring” and “competition” are what make a great program. “The athletes care more about the success of the person in front and behind than their own,” states Frazier Wong.

The Clemson Athletic Department has a strong culture of family values. The number one reason first year athletes come to Clemson is to be a member of the Clemson family. This can be seen when walking around campus and all of the students are dressed in Clemson gear. It makes for a sea of orange. To Frazier Wong, Clemson pride is unlike anywhere he has seen.

“It’s cool to wear Clemson athletic gear. The kids are proud to be representing their school at a high level of competition.”

As part of training, the team links all the ergs to a projector for a mini-Crash-Bs and they do this once per week. This helps the women channel their competition side to the erg. Frazier Wong says, “They don’t have to love erging, just love competing.”

Their home water is Lake Hartwell, a huge man-made reservoir that boasts nearly 960 miles of shoreline. With the endless water, the Tigers have few issues getting in the miles needed for success. And with the boathouse conveniently located on campus, the rowers can take out a pair at any time.

In this first season, Frazier Wong has gone back to the basics and is focusing on power, length, and cadence. To achieve power, Clemson rowed low rates all fall, controlling heart rate with stroke rate and not pressure. To achieve length, Frazier Wong is very particular about blade entry. Cadence only comes into play after power-per-stroke and length are achieved.

Coach Frazier Wong is taking his time this year and not getting caught-up in racing, but working toward daily improvements. To Frazier Wong, working to improve daily habits is the best way to measure success, rather than focusing on the gap between them and the top crew.

“The women are already hyper-competitive. The only way to get results is to focus on today.”

The Clemson women have already seen promising results this spring by sweeping Duke and the Boston University lightweights at their home regatta, the Clemson Invitational.