Tom Bohrer and BU Rowing

By Helen Tompkins | December 26, 2014

In 2014, Boston University was one of two teams to have all 5 boats in the final at Eastern Sprints. The team has shown its depth and has now set its sights to winning the overall team point trophy at Sprints.

Head Coach Thomas Bohrer, a two-time Olympic medalist and 1992 Olympic Team Captain, is in his seventh season with the BU Men, where he and assistants, John Lindberg and Mathis Jessen have transformed the team into a top level program. Lindberg has been with Bohrer for the past 6 years, and Jessen a recent graduate from UW joined the coaching staff last year.

Boston University men’s crew typically has five eights, a relatively large squad. Coach Bohrer states, “I don’t keep guys on the team for the numbers. Everyone on the team has a role.” Boats don’t go out without coaching so that every practice has value. The fifth varsity eight pushes the fourth, the fourth the third, and so on, so the guys in the first varsity eight have their seat on the line every day. The coaches start seeing trends in the ample data they have on each oarsmen.

When Bohrer got offered the BU head coach position, he called up his mentor Ted Nash to ask for coaching advice. Coach Nash told him to not forget about the rowers in the lower boats because they push the guys in the top boats. “If one kid is fumbling around, it can turn into a weaker team culture. Everyone matters,” says Bohrer.

The coaching staff keeps winter training purposeful by not erging every day. Days on the machine are specific with a measurable goal. The rowers refer to them as "Green Light Days," competitive race days on the erg. Green light days are done on the 40 ergometers at the boathouse.

Technical and steady state workouts take place on OarTec sliders. Bohrer likes that you have to think about what you’re doing on the dynamic erg.

Additionally, the entire team swims twice per week. A swim coach manages the workouts, provides structure to what the guys are doing, and gives technical help. They spend an hour in the pool with a very defined and structured routine. Bohrer believes that swimming makes the rowers better athletes. In swimming you have to think about every stroke.

Once a week, the team goes off campus to run a three-mile hill climb, which they do up to race season. They also lift twice a week with the strength coach in the on-campus varsity weight room. Next door to the weight room is the erg room, and downstairs there are two tanks. BU’s great facilities help the guys get through the winter.

Boston University is highly competitive and considered most selective. Coach Bohrer is looking for athletes who want an education at one of the world's leading research Universities, row in of the world's best venues, and contribute to the ongoing success and goals of one of the country’s best programs.