For possibly the last time, Row Triple – C, Oklahoma City Community College’s rowing team, will face defending champion Loves in a Sept. 29 regatta.
After a poor finish to the season during the summer, Row Triple – C looks to redeem themselves this fall as the team prepares for what may possibly be the final season due to funding challenges.
After finishing 5th place at the regatta on June 25, OCCC’s team has been hard at work in preparation for the fall.
Improvement has been made and there’s plenty of room for optimism as the team finished with a 1.55, the third fastest time of the eight teams that competed during the time trials, rowing member Mark Zindelo said.
In the first heat of the regatta, Row Triple – C make take on defending champion Loves, who was 20 seconds faster than Row Triple – C last season.
While preparing for the upcoming competition, the team has taken a large blow as two teammates went down due to injury — one being involved in a car wreck and another out with a spinal injury. To fill the vacancies left by the injured rowers, two former members of the 2015 championship team have joined the team.
However, the future of the the OCCC’s traditional rowing teams remains uncertain. The lack of funding may cause the program to be shut down completely.
“There are some serious funding challenges since the season costs over $2,500 and is self-funded,” Zindelo, a team member and OCCC English Professor, said. Furthermore, several members are either transferring to different schools or graduating.”
Zindelo said team is looking into training at an off-peak time to bring the costs down as well as seeking experienced rowers who might have rowed in high school or at a different college or university. If they can’t be found, or if a funding solution can’t be worked out, the rowing program may be shut down.
Row Triple – C saw some regressions in summer 2016 after winning a championship the year prior. This season, the team is determined to get back to championship form despite the uncertain future that looms ahead.
But perhaps it’s the uncertain future that give this year’s team the motivation to make this season their greatest yet.