The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday January 28th

Grad Students, Professors Relax and Row

Yopp is a novice member of the Carolina Master's Crew Club at UNC.

"It gets me out of the office and gives me something to look forward to," Yopp said.

Patti Hucks, the Carolina Masters representative to the sports club office, said the team began in 1993 with only eight members.

"A group of people got together who wanted to learn how to row, went out to the docks, and someone out there taught them how," she said.

The team, which consists of people 27 years and older, has grown to about two dozen rowers, one of whom is a man. There are four coxswain who direct the boat and call out orders.

"We're all professors, grad students and people in the community who were interested in rowing," Hucks said.

Though they are affiliated with UNC, the Carolina Masters team provides its own equipment. Boat sizes range from singles to eight-person boats with a coxswain.

New rowers take classes in the spring once a week for a month. At the conclusion of the class, they have the opportunity to apply for the team. It is then the members' responsibility to evaluate the candidates.

"We try to pick people who we think show promise," Hucks said.

Once rowers get on the team, they remain in the novice category for a year.

As novices, rowers cannot compete and only get to row in practice on the larger boats if there is room.

The Carolina Masters team meets two to four times a week, depending on the season.

Yopp said this is a good time to work on specific skills needed as a rower.

"A lot of technique is involved in rowing," she said. "It looks so effortless, but there's a lot that goes into it."

Rowers also run on the Belt Track or at the community center to keep up their endurance.

After a year as novices, rowers graduate and become members.

Member status gives rowers eligibility to compete in the any of the four races the team participates in annually.

Journalism Professor Carol Pardun became a member this summer and was able to compete in the Master's Nationals in August.

The team beat out rivals from Orlando and Atlanta for two silver medals.

"There is definitely a higher level of pressure," Pardun said. "You're trying to be the most competitive and not let your team members down."

Practice and races are not the only time rowers find to spend with one another.

"We socialize a lot off the water as well," Hucks said.

In addition to running in the annual Race for a Cure, they have also adopted a planter on Franklin Street and a highway that they regularly keep up.

"They are good ways for the team to give back to the community," Pardun said.

For men and women who are not getting any younger, crew is one of the few sports they can still pick up at an older age.

"I can actually get better at it as I get older," Pardun said.

For Yopp, it all comes down to personal satisfaction.

Yopp said, "I do it for myself."

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