?Ergathon? provides funds and awareness for men?s rowing

AJ Taylor

On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the Sacramento State men’s Rowing club put on two 12-hour ergathons in order to raise both money and campus awareness of the rowing club and team.

What the men’s rowing club calls “erging” is actually an exercise done on an ergometer, which models a rowing stroke. Throughout the ergathon two team members both erged for an hourlong shift. When their shift was up another team member would take their position.

“It essentially comes down to pain,” said Adam Splewski. “It is one of the hardest things you’ll do but it’s one of the best training methods that we have.”

The Men’s Rowing Club has been putting on the annual event for more than 10 years, and this year’s was the first that was not 24 consecutive hours – only due to the administration’s failure to provide the club with an overnight permit. In response, the club split the event into two blocks. Both beginning at 6 in the morning and ending at 6 that night.

Money was raised through a letter-writing campaign in which donations were pledged for every hour the ergometers were spinning.

“Historically the team’s main fundraiser has always been a 24-hour ergathon, we would erg through the night and that’s the main stave of our funding,” said Dustin Kraus, head coach of the men’s rowing. “We can be on campus, have a presence, show students what rowing is and it’s fun for the guys to do.”

This year the club raised more than $4,000 and is still receiving donations – its goal was set at $10,000. Last year, the club raised $7,000. Each year the club raises money in the hopes of getting enough for a new boat.

“A new boat would mean everything to this program,” said assistant coach Mike Brandt. “We haven’t bought a new boat since “99 and with the technology like everything else, if you don’t have last year’s model or this year’s model, you’re toast.”

The Men’s Rowing Club finished in ninth place in the national tournament in 2008. Nonetheless, the club still deems the purchase of a new boat necessary.

“We haven’t been able to buy a boat in 11 years, and a new boat can range anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000,” Brandt said. “It depends on how much you want to spend, what kind of a boat we want to get, and how much wear and tear we’re willing to pay for because usually if you’re going to spend anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 on the boat, you’re getting a used boat that is probably two or three – maybe five or six years old.”

The club is self-sufficient; the students involved and president Armando Guerro are in charge of all fundraising for things that range from new oars, uniforms, a $40,000 boat and their coaches’ salaries.

“We’re a student-run club, so it’s all on us,” Guerro said. “We pay our coaches. We fundraise to pay for our coaches, our trips, travel, any equipment we need to purchase, such as the boat, blades or even a rowing machine – we need to pay for them ourselves.”

The team does manage to have fun with the fundraiser even though it solely consists of two shifts of an hour-straight workout.

“It’s difficult, but it’s fun … kind of,” said Justin Carter, member of the Men’s Rowing Club. “It’s definitely rewarding though.”

The club will begin competition in the spring and Kraus said he feels optimistic about this season.

“We’ve got a lot of potential and a steep learning curve,” Kraus said. “From what I’ve seen so far, I think we can be pretty decent.”

The club is still short of raising enough for its new boat, but members are scheduled to host an auction later this spring.

AJ Taylor can be reached at [email protected]