ONE-ON-ONE: Luerhman and Accomando

by Jack Barrett | 11/22/09 11:00pm

I sat down with Henry Luehrman '12 and Ian Accomando '12 to talk about Dartmouth lightweight crew.

You guys are lightweight rowers what weight do you technically need to be?

HL: All eight rowers technically need to average 155 as a boat come race day. The maximum a rower can weigh is 160 pounds. But that's only in the spring. Once a week. For like 10 minutes. Technically.

IA: Technically I need to weigh 160 pounds.

How tough can it be to maintain weight? What sort of stuff do you guys have to do?

HL: It can be tough. As long as you eat healthy foods, keep exercising, and watch "The Machinist" once or twice a day, you're generally OK.

IA: It's not that difficult. I do a few extra workouts a week and generally try to eat low-calorie, high-density foods.

What's the weirdest thing you've heard of to lose weight?

HL: There's this new procedure I've heard about where they surgically cut big hunks of fat off your body. I think that's pretty weird.

IA: I once heard about a guy who bought a rubber suit and would wear it in the sauna for 10 five-minute sessions and then literally crawl to the scale to weigh in because he was so dehydrated. It worked though.

What time of year are you guys the most active?

IA: Spring is our racing season so we do the most traveling then, and we have to be the most attentive to our weight in the spring.

HL: Definitely spring it's our big racing season. But all the other seasons are important. We work on aerobic fitness in the fall, anaerobic fitness in the winter, both in the spring, and neither in the summer.The summer is the most important if you didn't slack off then, there would be nothing to do the rest of the year.

Do you guys train as hard in the winter? What kind of stuff can you do with the river iced over?

HL: We do all of our indoor training in the winter. It actually ends up being the most intense of our seasons, since every number is recorded and there isn't much else to do besides work on the ergometer and lift. This is where John Katz thrived last year he loves the erg. Ask him.

IA: The winter is where the national championship is won. I know that sounds cliche, but it's true. We erg all winter long (in-between winter break and spring break training trips) and lift three days a week trying to get as fit as possible and as close to our spring goal weights as we can maintain.

What are some of the key aspects to a fast boat?

HL: You need power, technique, synchronicity, and mental toughness as a crew. You need to be able to trust each other and believe that everyone else is working as hard as you are. Sometimes, you need all the other boats to be slow.

How has the season gone so far?

HL: Well, we've managed to bring Accomando's poundage back to lightweight territory. I'd say the season has been a success.

How do races work? Are you racing against other teams or in a time trial?

HL: We race side-by-side in the spring season. It ranges from two boats to six boats across. After seven minutes, the last boat floating upright is the winner.

IA: There are two types of races: dual races and head races. Headraces are time trial-style, where one boat starts, then 15 seconds later the next boat goes, then 15 seconds later the next boat, etc.

Dual races can involve anywhere from two to as many crews that can fit in the given racecourse. In a dual race, all the boats are aligned evenly and start at the same time. Then Ian Accomando wins.

Is it ever hard to motivate yourself to race faster in a time trial instead of against another team?

HL: Yes. Insert joke here.

IA: Yes. It's like that scene in "Seabiscuit" when the horses make eye contact and then Seabiscuit blows War Admiral's doors off. I think most rowers find it easier to self-motivate when the other boat is 20 feet to their right.

What kind of expectations do you have for the spring?

HL: One race at a time. But yeah, we're going to beat everyone.

IA: "To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian.

Do any guys, or any Dartmouth rowers at all, have tentative plans to try and row in the Olympics?

IA: I'm currently not in a position where I could compete on that level, but my goal by the end of my time at Dartmouth is to be in the kind of extreme shape that international lightweight rowers are in.

HL: Yes. Maybe. Tentative.