Off-the-water relationships lead to rowing success

From left to right: Anita Eckhardt, Lindsey DeVreugd, Catie Wood and Alyssa Buettner of the varsity 1v4 rowing team that placed first at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships on April 16, 2022. (Photo courtesy Lindsey DeVreugd)

From teammates to friends and fourth to first, this season for the rowing team has been special.

On April 15-16, a boat of sophomores Sydney Smith, Lindsey DeVreugd and Alyssa Buettner and freshmen Anita Eckhardt and Catie Wood placed first at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships.

“The whole, I’d say, first half of the race we were in I think fourth place, so not even in a position to medal, and then something happened at like, the 1000-meter mark where we all just like kicked it in,” DeVruegd said. “Then Sidney Smith, our coxswain, just like kept calling seeds on other boats and around the 500-meter mark, we just kind of pushed through and just kind of locked in and walked through with the rest of the boats that were around us.”

The girls didn’t expect this amount of success heading into the season, as none of the girls had rowed in a 1v4 boat before the campaign.

“Our technique isn’t as good as other boats, so it was really cool,” DeVruegd said. “The first race — like we won that line, and then I think that just set us up for a good place to like, build throughout this.”

DeVreugd attributes the recent success to the teammates’ relationships out of the water.

“Me and Catie, we would see each other on campus and say, ‘Hi,’ and talk to each other at practice, but we roomed together at spring camp, which I think we got a lot closer then,” DeVreugd said. “I feel like I knew her as a teammate then, but now I know her as a friend.”

Following spring camp, the girls continue to develop a connection with each other. While competing in Tennessee, the rowers swapped roommates to allow individuals to expand toward a more wholesome team relationship.

“In Tennessee, I was with Bitty [Alyssa Buettner], and Lindsey [DeVreugd] and Anita [Eckhardt] were together, but our rooms were conjoined,” Wood said. “It was a blast because we were able to be separated from each other because Lindsey and Bitty lived together here in Manhattan, and then Anita and I do. So that was really nice that we weren’t with our actual roommates, but that we were able to still be together.”

K-State is enjoying the success from this past weekend, but the team still has more work to do leading into its remaining three meets. The team’s desires are clear:

“I would say as a boat right now, it’s to beat KU and get a medal at Big 12,” DeVreugd said. “Those are always our team goals.”

Devreugd and Wood’s boat is set for action on Sunday, April 24, at the Creighton Duel in Omaha, Nebraska.