Bates Bobcast Episode 136: Nine All-American swimmers, rowing spring season preview
On this week's Bobcast, we preview the spring season for Bates rowing. We also take a look back on a very successful NCAA Championships for the women's swimming team. All nine Bobcats returned as All-Americans. Plus, the women's lacrosse team beat Williams for the fourth straight season and the baseball team is ready for NESCAC play after a strong week of non-conference action. All that and more, on the Bates Bobcast!
Interviews this episode:
- 1:33 -- Brett Allen, Head Coach, Women's Lacrosse.
- 4:55 -- Peter Casares, Head Coach, Swimming and Diving.
- 15:57 -- Caroline Apathy '21, Women's Swimming (Female Bobcat of the Week).
- 22:40 -- Bryan Gotti '22, Baseball (Male Bobcat of the Week).
- 30:43 -- Peter Steenstra, Head Coach, Rowing.
Aaron: This is the Bates Bobcast. Our weekly podcast where we take a look at the week that was, in Bates athletics. My name is Aaron Morse and this week we preview the spring season for Bates rowing! We also take a look back on a very successful NCAA Championships for the women’s swimming team. All nine Bobcats returned as All-Americans. Plus, the women’s lacrosse team beat Williams for the fourth straight season and the baseball team is ready for NESCAC play after a strong week of non-conference action. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!
Aaron: The men’s lacrosse team got the week started Tuesday with a 12-9 win at Keene State before falling on the road to Williams by score of 16-14. Despite the loss, the Bobcats are ranked 12th in the country and sit just a half game out of first place in the NESCAC. And the women’s lacrosse team is still ranked 21st in the nation after the Bobcats picked up their second NESCAC win of the season, defeating the Ephs 13-11 on Saturday at Garcelon Field. Senior Katie Allard scored four goals and sophomore Margaret Smith added two goals and three assists in the come-from-behind victory. It’s the fourth straight season the Bates women’s lacrosse team has defeated the Ephs. We caught up with head coach Brett Allen after the game.
Brett: I definitely feel like we were very prepared, we had a really early mid-week game this week, which gave us four days to get ready. So we were able to watch some film, do some things that are gonna help us play well, and prepare for them. So I think that helped, but you know, we're also in that time of year where it gets a little tougher academically for everybody, and the stress level goes up, and so just the fact that they were able to handle that through the week, and come in this morning ready to go was a testament to them.
Aaron: Fourth straight year beating Williams, most of the games have been pretty close, though, it seems like.
Brett: I didn't know that, I remember last year's game, and then before that it's hard to remember all of them. But, I think every team we play is really good. Williams really scares me, they have some very good athletes, who are just great players, and I think if you let them get on a run, they can really hurt you. And in the first half, we kinda gave them a little bit of momentum, and we were luckily able to keep them close, so we could catch up, and then overtake them.
Aaron: Right, because the first half you played from behind, pretty much the whole time, didn't have your first lead, I think, until the second half, but, as you mentioned, it was never more than a two-goal game, it seemed like.
Brett: Yeah, it was back-and-forth in the first half, and we were either tied or behind, the whole time. You know, I think collectively, the team felt like, if we cleaned up a few things on the clear, and then obviously took advantage of our possessions on offense, the opportunities would keep coming, and we were able to play a bit cleaner, the second half, and that helped us.
Aaron: Allard led the way in terms of goals, Margaret Smith having a great year as a sophomore, right?
Brett: Yeah, they both played really well today, you know, I think Katie's always been a little bit of a finisher, and Margaret's certainly a finisher as well, but the thing that stood out for me today for Margaret was her ability to keep her head up, and find her teammates. I mean, she had two or three assists, I think, if my memory serves me well.
Aaron: And then defensively, in the second half, Eliza made some key saves there, huh?
Brett: Yeah, Eliza was really good. We've kinda been bouncing back-and-forth a little bit between her and Rachael the last couple of weeks, and Eliza had a great week in practice, she earned the opportunity to play, and I thought she was really doing a good job, and obviously it's nice to have somebody who's a senior, and has some experience, and doesn't get rattled when, those last two minutes there, they were getting some possessions, and putting some shots on us.
Aaron: Yeah, at the end, you've just gotta hold on, right, once you get the ball, hold on to it as long as you can?
Brett: Well, we have the 90-second possession clock, and this game used to be so boring, because if the team was ahead at the end, they'd just try and stall, and now you can't really stall, because you've gotta create within that 90 seconds. But certainly when we were short on time at the end, to not have to force a clear, to go down, and then force a shot to catch up was a nice luxury to have.
Aaron: Got a full week to prepare for an always tough Hamilton team, right?
Brett: Hamilton's really good, I feel like they're similar to Williams, they have a lot of really great athletes who have some experience, they have some really fast, speedy kids, who are skilled, so we're gonna need to have a good week, you know, tonight's a fun night at Bates, for Gala, so the girls get about 24 hours off, to just have some fun, and be a college kid, but then we'll get right back at it on Monday.
Aaron: Alright, Coach, thanks so much.
Brett: Thanks Aaron.
Aaron: The women’s swimming team finished 20th in the nation at the NCAA Championships last week. With a record-tying nine women making the trip, Bates opened the meet by taking 8th in the 200-yard medley relay and the Bobcats didn’t look back, impressing despite having a number of first-time competitors at nationals. Head coach Peter Casares reflects on a strong finish to the season.
Peter Casares: Yeah, the goal was to get there, and swim faster, and score some points for the college, and you can only do it at night, so, for years, we've gone, and brought athletes to the meet, and not everybody has been able to experience a night swim, so knowing that we brought our biggest contingent of women ever, and all of them are coming home with an All-American certificate, and the experience of scoring points, and knowing they belong at that meet, is a huge step in our confidence, a huge step in our direction for the program, knowing that the cupboard's pretty full, with people with experience, and a desire to get back.
Aaron: First day, right off the bat, top eight performance in one of the relays, right, tell us about that team, and what they did.
Peter Casares: Yeah, that was literally the best way to start off the meet, they jumped into their heat, I think they were in lane three, or two, there was two or three teams ahead of us in that heat, and they got second, and when you are second in the prelim heats, you go, "Wow, we have a chance here to be top eight," and as the following heats progressed, there we were, eighth in the country, that first-team All-American status, getting the trophy to bring back at night, and walking up on the podium, to kick off nationals. I think it really just showed them that, yeah, we can swim at the highest level, at the biggest meet possible, and we're doing it with a lot of new faces, and let's have some fun this week.
Aaron: Female Bobcat of the Week, Caroline Apathy, got third in the butterfly, 100-yard butterfly, in a tie for third, that sounds like a very close race!
Peter Casares: Yeah, I mean, it was an amazing race to watch unfold, all five women, five out of the eight women were neck-and-neck the entire way, separated by a tenth or less, as the race unfolded, and Caroline was tough, she swam her race really well, had a great final turn, with a great kick-out, and brought it home, and I think she went from fifth to third on that last lap, and she tied with somebody, and then she beat an opponent by 0.01, so even the person behind them, in fifth, was right there, and for her to get that touch-out, and come out with that third-place spot was huge. She was 11th last year, so to finish third this year at the meet was great, and she's gotta honestly feel like she could win this thing one year, I mean it's tenths away, and her best time ever would have been in contention for the win, so she should have some big goals going forward, and I think ones that make her smile, not scared.
Aaron: I was gonna say, the person who won that race was a senior, right, at Williams, so she's got two more years to try and get a national title under her belt.
Peter Casares: Yeah, and the one that got 1/100 slower was Mary Laurita, from Bowdoin, who ended up beating Caroline twice in our dual meet by 1/100 of a second, so it was nice to have that touch-out there, it was nice to know that you beat the national champion, once in the season, at NESCAC conferences, and that you've got two more shots at it, and should things continue to go the direction that they are with Caroline, I don't think we're gonna put any limits on what's possible, but in the end, you just go there and you try to race, and you can only control what's in your lane, so you put together the best race, and hopefully you've got that ability to close, and finish with that new best time, and that highest finish ever, and Caroline does that at the big meets, it was really awesome to see.
Aaron: One exciting thing about this team is you only had one senior travel to NCAAs, and that was Lucy Faust, she did really well, also, right?
Peter Casares: She did, she came to that meet, and Lucy was unbelievable. I mean, she jumped in on our 200 free relay in the morning, and went her lifetime best swim, right on it, then she went and swam the 800 free relay, and again was right on her lifetime best, and then in the mile, on her last swim, she was just a second slower, or two, than her lifetime, and when you see someone that's been there for three years, and you see that when they need to be their best, they're right on it. You have a lot of respect for that, because everybody goes to that meet, and they had a second, they add a couple tenths, some drop, some do this, some do that, but it is hard to do, and she didn't give us any indication that a lifetime best wasn't possible, and she also swam at her best every swim she did swim, and I think that comes from consistency.
Peter Casares: And I just hope that all those first-years, we had six rookies this year go to the national meet, and they had some great swims, and they had some swims that were just slightly off, and I think they all can say to themselves, "If I keep coming back to this meet, I'm gonna be like Lucy, I'm gonna jump up there, and I'm gonna go my lifetime best, or better," not, "I hope this works out. It's gonna be there." And I think that experience for Lucy paid off, and we saw it in her races, and I was just extremely thankful that she was so dependable.
Aaron: And also, she got a Fulbright, recently, she found out, right?
Peter Casares: Yeah, I mean, it's a good time to be Lucy Faust right now, she went lifetime best at NESCACs, she qualified for nationals on relays, she's never qualified for it before, then she went to California, to watch her sister in a play, and that was the first time she was able to do that, and on the trip home, she found out she was a Fulbright winner, and then the next week she was heading off to nationals, and then she's coming home a two-time All-American, so it's just ... it was a great time, and everything, I hope, she had hoped would happen came true, and I think that's the icing on the cake, when you look at a four-year career.
Aaron: You touched on the first-years, and the first-timers, who got to go to NCAAs, what do you hope, you mentioned that, a little bit more about what they learned from the experience?
Peter Casares: Yeah, I think they learned that it's a long meet. I think they learned that the last month of swimming together, as a group, is really special, and you wanna get that extra month of training, and you want to get that time, to get to nationals, because it does pay off. I mentioned earlier, they learned that they can get to that meet, and they belong there. And then the other thing that we talked a lot about is, if we're gonna be that top ten team in the country, we need individuals there, not just relays.
Peter Casares: And we kinda took this approach to say, "Okay, we're gonna swim fast relays, but let's also, when no-one's looking, swim some other events in this pool, and see how fast we can go, just off the coach's stopwatch." And I did that so that they could go times that were fast individually, and go, "Yeah, if I get to this meet, and I have to swim individually, and on relays, I've been there and done that before," and so this was all ... like I hate to say anything like a rebuilding year, we brought nine to nationals, but we lost five senior national-level athletes last year, that had been there two or three times, Logan McGill four times, Teddy Pender three times, Riley four times. I mean, these people knew what was happening, and knew what to do.
Peter Casares: And so when we bring six out of nine that are brand new to the meet, one of our returners was abroad for a semester, you go, "What's gonna happen?" And what happened was is that they swam fast, they were tough, they swam extra events when no-one was looking, and they know that if they get back next year, no matter what's thrown their way, they're gonna be able to handle that, and that was what we wanted. We were 20th in the country, we scored in all five relays, all nine of them came back at night, and scored points, and were All-Americans, and now they know, "I can do it, and I'm ready for it when it happens again," and that's gonna be what takes us to the next level, when we bring in another recruiting class, and they wanna get there, too.
Aaron: Yeah, you touched on that, Janika Ho was abroad in the fall, and she will be a senior next year, probably expecting big things from her, in her final season.
Peter Casares: Yeah, she ... you know, not to get too personal, but she looked at me, and said "Those races hurt, I wanna start training, so that they don't feel like that again." And I said, "Janika, that's music to my ears, because she is a very special athlete, with tremendous talent, and when she showed up on campus in January, she worked her tail off, but it was six weeks, and then it was NESCACs, and then those last four weeks, there's only so much you can do, to get to that next level, physiologically speaking, and she dealt with trying to make herself go as fast as possible with less in the tank, her aerobic capacity wasn't as big as years past. So she knows what needs to happen, she knows that she can swim fast, no matter what, and if she takes an excitement and passion and engagement into her summer of fitness and training, and then rolls it into the fall, you could see her have a monster senior season, that just turns heads everywhere.
Aaron: Yeah, it must be nice to finish 20th, top 20 in the country, when you mention it was kind of a rebuilding year.
Peter Casares: Yeah, I mean, like I said, it was one of our best years ever, we finished fourth in the conference, we finished 20th in the nation, but we had a lot of learning to do, we had 11 freshmen, 12 freshmen, on the team, on the women's team. We had the same on the men's team, and so we were learning what it meant to be a Bates swimmer, what it meant to compete for the college, what it meant to swim your best when it was the toughest, and the hardest, and the greatest, competition out there. So with half of your team learning that for the first year, you go and say, "Wow, the men finished fifth, which was one up, the women finished fourth, which was two up, from last year, and then you go to nationals, and everybody scores." You go, that's the experience, and the rebuilding, you know, in quotation marks, the rebuilding that you really hope exists, so that you can flirt with that top-ten program, in the country, which has always been the goal here at Bates.
Aaron: Now you got swim lessons, right, that's what's up next for the swimming team?
Peter Casares: Yep, we showed up Sunday, from a flight back from North Carolina, and I said, "Alright," as I dropped them off around 2:30, I'll see you at 4:00 for swim lessons, and we had 90 kids show up, taught some lessons last night, and now they're gonna start coming back for the next eight or so days, over the next two weeks, and teach some kids some swimming, get them excited about the sport, teach them something that's important in life, in survival, and all that jazz, and really just spread the love in the community, and get involved, and so it's tough as a college athlete, to juggle a swim season, academics, and all that goes on, and then have this thrown your way too, but they get here, and they smile, and they have a great time together as a team, and they have a great time sharing their love with the kids in the community, and that makes me smile even bigger, because we're swimming fast, but we're doing more than just being swimmers.
Aaron: Alright, Peter Casares, women's swimming 20th in the nation this year, thanks so much.
Peter Casares: You bet. Go Bobcats.
Aaron: Sophomore Caroline Apathy earned five All-America honors at NCAAs, giving her 10 for her career so far. A third-place showing in the 100-yard butterfly stood out among her performances, and Caroline Apathy is our Female Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Four days there at the NCAA championships last week in North Carolina, first day, you're part of a medley relay team, the 200-yard medley, that gets first-team All-America, eighth place, that was quite the way to start off the NCAA championships, wasn't it?
Caroline: Yeah, it was really fun. I was not ... we were really trying to get top 16, in all the relays, and when we made top eight, that was a very exciting moment to happen, especially ... I swam with Janika before in the medley relay, but with Emmy and Suzy it was really fun, and it was a nice experience to have, for it to be on the first day, too.
Aaron: Right, right, I was gonna say, so you have the morning swim, right, and if you get top eight in the morning, you get to race in the final, right, so at point it's kind of all gravy, a little bit?
Caroline: Yes, when you make top eight, you make podium, automatically, but the top 16 ... ninth place to 16th place, you're just ... you're in the B final, where you get a second chance of swimming, but you don't get a trophy, at the end, so-
Aaron: So you got a trophy, though, for the 200-yard medley.
Caroline: Yeah, yeah.
Aaron: And in the butterfly, coming in as top seed, what was going through your mind, did you feel a lot of pressure?
Caroline: Yes and no. I felt pressure to get top eight in the 100 'fly, I just wanted to ... in the morning, all I was focused on was making top eight, because girls were going to go faster. So I was in my heat, and I was next to Maia Hare again, like I did at NESCACs, and it was really fun, because we like swimming against each other, and so I try not to focus on being the top seed at all, because that would have kind of messed me up a little bit, but, yeah.
Aaron: And in the final, you tied for third, that's a tight race!
Caroline: Yeah, I had no idea I tied at all, until ten minutes before we got up for the podium, I was really happy that I got third. I was ecstatic, because I didn't really have any expectations, and I didn't know I was gonna score that high. Looking back on the race, it was really, really close, and it could have been anyone. Mary Laurita, who swims for Bowdoin, she got fourth, and she was only 1/100th behind me and the girl that both got third, so, yeah. It was really close.
Aaron: Maia Hare, on Williams, is she a sophomore also?
Caroline: She's a senior.
Aaron: Oh, she's a senior, so you don't have to worry about her next year!
Caroline: Yeah. No, but she ... really I am glad she won, she really deserved it, it was a good race.
Aaron: Right, because you get two more shots at it, where as this was her last chance.
Caroline: Yeah, and if I would have wanted to give it to her anyone, it would have been her, so, yeah.
Aaron: So after a very busy second day, third day you didn't have to swim at all. That must have been nice?
Caroline: Yeah, it was very nice. I got to sit back and just watch swimming, and not be stressed over it. I watched Emmy Daigle's 100 breast, she had a 100 breast individually, and also our eight free relay swam, so that was Erin Bucki and Maya, and Lucy, and Caroline Sweeney, they all swam, and it was really fun to watch, because we watched them train for the two free for the past month, so it was fun.
Aaron: Well, for the women, this was a lot of first timers at nationals, not for you, you went last year, but what was it like, seeing them being able to get a chance to swim on the biggest stage.
Caroline: It was fun. Like, it's interesting to see how it feels swimming with them at NESCACs, and then go to nationals, because, I don't know, it is a bigger stage, and they do rise to the occasion, when it comes to it, and we're all coming back All-Americans, and that's a great feeling, because I don't think ... I don't know, we were all expecting to get a few All-Americans, but the fact that we all did it was awesome.
Aaron: Yeah, no one feeling left out, or anything-
Caroline: No, no one feels left out, yeah.
Aaron: I saw that there was a lot of pride in seeing Lucy swim her mile for the final time, right?
Caroline: Yeah, it was an awesome race. She was next to an Emory girl, and kind of we ... coming from a small school, and coming from a NESCAC school, the NESCAC schools, we cheer for each other, and we were all hoping the best for each other, so to beat those big D3 schools, like Emory, Denison, and Kenyon, so when she's head-to-head with this Emory girl, we're screaming our heads off for Lucy to go, and the fact that she just went three seconds from the time she went from NESCACs was awesome, that's great.
Aaron: Right, because Emory, don't they win it like every year, pretty much?
Caroline: Yeah, they ... I think the girls won this year, the Emory girls. But, yeah, and they're a huge presence in the stands, and just everywhere.
Aaron: The NESCAC bands together, I saw they're doing chants, and everything, right?
Caroline: Yeah, we have this New England cheer that we do, and we did it after the senior ceremony, and it was really fun, yeah.
Aaron: Awesome. Well, any other thoughts on the trip to nationals, and what you're looking forward to the next two seasons, coming up?
Caroline: I'm looking forward to seeing what our girls are able to do now, going forward. I mean, Lucy was the only senior we are losing, which was a big loss in the distance area, but going forward, I'm expecting to be going to nationals again with all these girls, and even more, I hope, yeah, I'm excited for the next two seasons.
Aaron: The baseball team traveled to MIT on Wednesday and defeated the Engineers 7-4. Junior Nolan Collins struck out six batters over six innings of work to earn the win on the mound. And first-year Bryan Gotti gave Bates the lead for good in the first inning with a two-RBI double. Gotti followed that up with a strong doubleheader against Plymouth State on Sunday. He tallied four hits over the course of two games, smacking a pair of doubles and driving in two runs in game two to help Bates earn a doubleheader split with the Panthers. Gotti is hitting .303 on the season through 11 games and he is our Male Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Male Bobcat of the Week, Bryan Gotti, with us here on the Bobcast, talking some baseball, and, Bryan, tell us a little bit about your background, when did you first start playing baseball, I know a lot of kids start playing T-Ball, and work on up, how did it go for you, in terms of your career in baseball, up until coming to Bates?
Bryan: Absolutely, I was one of those kids that started right away, playing T-Ball with my older brother, my dad threw us right into it, and I absolutely loved it from the beginning. Played up through the ranks, got to Westwood High School, which was my first high school. Played there for two years, then I transferred to Belmont Hill, where I really grew as a baseball player, and I was actually a pitcher for awhile, before I switched over when I went to Belmont Hill, to a first baseman. I've absolutely loved every moment of it, playing in the summer, playing in the fall, whenever I can. As long as there's not snow on the ground, I'll try and get out on the field as much as possible.
Aaron: You've got that six-foot-four frame, when did that growth spurt hit for you?
Bryan: I've always been big, it's funny, I was bigger than my kindergarten teacher in kindergarten, which I always thought was funny. But I reached six feet in about eighth grade, so I've been really big for a long time, you know, just working on filling out that frame, and modeling how I want it to be, and adjusting it to how my play style works, so.
Aaron: You mentioned you used to be a pitcher, then you moved to first base. Reminds me of Moneyball, and first base, "It's not that hard, it's incredibly hard," what were your thoughts on adjusting to first base, in terms of defensively?
Bryan: I mean, it's two totally different games, as a pitcher, you don't have the offensive side of it, and you're involved every play, you control the pace of the game. At first base, it's a lot different. Defensively, it's not too difficult to get used to. It's still a difficult place, you know, doing picks and everything, makes it difficult, but I think the offensive side is definitely the biggest change, because for a bunch of summers, coaches had put me on the mound, and said, "You're not hitting, you're just doing this," and I finally had coaches who believed in me, and put me at the plate, and, you know, I produced right away, and I grew as a hitter, so definitely I think hitting's the hardest thing to do in sport. People who fail are in the Hall of Fame for hitting, so it's funny how that works, but I definitely think that, you know, those people who believed in me, and let me hit, saw the true potential in me, and I saw my true potential at the plate as well.
Aaron: When you started hitting more regularly, as a left-handed bat, what were some adjustments you had to make? I know for left-handed hitters, it can be tough against lefty pitchers sometimes.
Bryan: Yeah, absolutely, facing lefties was something I was really unfamiliar with, there weren't a lot of them when I was growing up and actually still hitting. That, and adjusting to really good off-speed, because in BP you're just throwing a bunch of fastballs, sometimes mixing in an off-speed, you know, there's only so much preparing that you can do there, so when you get a really good pitcher on the mound, you know, I faced a guy who was drafted in the third round, my junior year of high school, and he threw 96, and his off-speed was his best stuff, and he struck me out all three times I faced him, and from there on, you know, it's just learning how to deal with the off-speed, and if you can prepare for that, I know I can hit fastballs, but if you can prepare for the off-speed, and make the adjustments you need to do, and simplify your swing, then you'll be all set.
Aaron: I'm curious, when you're looking at colleges, what made Bates the place for you?
Bryan: You know, for me, the thing that sold it was Coach Martin. I came on the recommendation from a coach from Babson, actually, Coach Ginsberg, who my dad had met throughout the recruiting process, and stuff, and I wasn't really looking to go to school that close to home, you know, Babson and Wellesley, it's a fantastic institution, I love the place, it's awesome, the coaching staff's amazing, some of the players are absolutely great guys, but for me, when I first had that first conversation with Coach Martin, I think that kinda sealed the deal. I figured this was a guy I could grind for, every day, put it all on the line for, and someone I could really be under for my next four years here. I think the coaching is a big thing for me, because if you and the coach don't communicate well, or aren't really on the same page, it doesn't make it as fun, and a little more stressful. But I think, with him, it's free-flowing, but everyone knows when to bear down and get the work done, and it's a fantastic atmosphere.
Aaron: It sounds like you played against some really quality competition when you were in high school, high draft picks, and everything, but high school, the levels can vary, what's been adjustments coming from high school to college?
Bryan: For me, I was blessed to play in a league, the ISL, that has really high competition. I have friends of mine, from my school, who play college baseball, friends from other teams, and you build a lot of relationships there. For me, I think facing certain pitchers, there's a lot of similarities, we face guys that were high-end D1 arms, who were either young, or in their senior year, and stuff, so we definitely saw the best from what high school has to offer, I think, and coming into the NESCAC, I know that each team has an ace or two that's really good, gonna be everyone of those pitchers, so you know it's all about driving up that pitch count, getting them out of the game, working deep into that bullpen, because when you have those three game series, it's all hands on deck, and if you can get those big guys out of the game, then you're pretty good offensively.
Aaron: Interesting, I've noticed on this team, that you, Trulli, White, you guys are sluggers, if you will, big hitters, and probably competing for some playing time, there, right, because first base, there's DH, and that's about it, sometimes.
Bryan: Absolutely, I think one more name you have to throw in the list there is Noah Loughlin, he's actually been one of our better hitters in the chances he had, and I absolutely love the kid, he's actually helped me through some rough times, through the season, which has been fantastic, but I think all four of us are absolutely fantastic hitters, and we make it really hard to leave our names out of the lineup, and we push each other every day to get better, because we know if one of us slips up, the next guy's right behind us, ready to go, and he's gonna produce the numbers that you couldn't at the time. It's all about keeping that high level of production, but it's all love between the four of us. It's fantastic, there's no malintentions, no malfeelings between playing time, the four of us, we all work together, work to get better, and we work to help the team.
Aaron: So NESCAC play starting this weekend, I mean, it's 12 games, and that decides who gets to the tournament, right?
Bryan: Absolutely, you know, every game matters, it's crazy, I felt like the Tufts series, in the fall was so far away, and it was never gonna get here, but here we are, the week of the game, and I think we're coming in really strong, coming off a 16-hit game two against Plymouth State, and I think our heads are in the right place, our pitching staff has worked really hard, they're looking really good right now. So I think everything's clicking at the right time, it's gonna take a great week of practice, to get ready for it, but, you know, Tufts is a fantastic team, I know some of the guys on the team, I actually played for one of their coaches, one of my summers. I know they're a class organization, so I know that it's gonna be a long Friday and Saturday. It's gonna be some hard games, that come down to the wire, and I think if we can win those late innings, then I'm confident in us in the series.
Aaron: For you, back at the plate a little bit, it certainly looks like you have the potential to be kind of a home run hitter, if you will, you've got a lot of doubles so far this year. Is one of your goals, maybe in college, to turn those doubles into homers, perhaps?
Bryan: Absolutely, for any power hitter, he prides himself in the amount of home runs he gets. Doubles, fantastic, extra base hits, I love them, but, for me, in high school I was the home run hitter, in college I want to have that same reputation. And that's all about ... I've come close a couple times, and you've got the guys, Jon, saying "Weight room," and stuff, in the locker room, and that's true, it's just catch the ball right, right time, right field, and it'll go, but it's also making myself better in the weight room. The more strength I build, the farther the ball's gonna go, it's simple like that, but as simple as it sounds, it's something I definitely need to commit myself to, throughout my career, and I think as the years go on, as I get stronger, I think more and more balls will be leaving the park.
Aaron: Alright, Bates at Tufts this weekend, Bryan Gotti, Male Bobcat of the Week, thanks so much.
Bryan: Thank you.
Aaron: The rowing teams travel to Boston this weekend to open their spring season. The men are coming off their first appearance at the IRA National Championship regatta last spring and the women look to win a third straight NCAA championship this year. No, neither team has gotten on the water yet this spring but head coach Peter Steenstra is used to that.
Peter Steenstra: It's the same thing it's always been, right, we just train throughout the winter, the kids are working on their own, and then when we get together in Florida for February 15th or so, get a week of rowing down there, sort out a few things, find who's able to still make the boat go well, and then we come back home, and we're inside for a month, and they just train together, and we spend a little more time trying to find ways to fine-tune their stroke, or at least aspects of it, when we're indoors, we've got the ergometers, obviously, but then we also have poolside rowing stations, that we use in the pool, and we try to stay out of the way of the swimming team, because they're busy, and doing what they're doing, they're quite good, going to NCAAs, which is awesome, so we're happy to see that, but the longer they're racing, the less time we get in the poolsides, but we've been able to work it out, and got some time in there.
Aaron: Great, and then, women's team was just recently honored at the NCAA tournament, you've done that before, what's that experience like for you, and for the women.
Peter Steenstra: Oh, it's fun. For me, it's unique in that I don't have anything to do, I don't even have to drive the trailer anywhere, so sitting on the bus, for me, is completely foreign, but it was a nice drive down, and being able to go into a big stadium like that, and get recognized by 16,000 people is not something that rowers typically experience, even when they're racing, or doing something else, but it was fun, and get to stand on the court, and you watch seven foot guys playing basketball, and it's a fun time.
Aaron: For sure, alright, so tell us about who the teams are racing this weekend.
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, the men are doing their annual with the Harvard lightweights, real early season stuff, which is nice, and that's a big program of five eights' worth of rowers, and obviously it's Harvard, so a lot comes with that, and it's fun for us to be able to just match up against such a good program, that's supposed to beat us easily, so at any point, if we can kinda hang on to them, then it's fun for our guys. And then we'll see Boston College, which is a club that sort of has had ups and downs over the years, but they're clearly on an upswing right now, had a good spring last year, and they're back into being a big program, they've got five eights' worth of guys as well. And then Trinity is there, so we have a nice NESCAC opponent to go along with it. On the women's side, Simmons, is the actual host of the regatta, but then the MIT lightweights, we're racing them, as well as the Trinity women will be there.
Aaron: Okay, great, well you mentioned the men, Harvard lightweights, that must not be particularly intimidating, since they were competing against the heavyweights last June, right?
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, I mean, you'd think so, but those guys are wily, is probably the best way to say it. But clearly a hard-working group, and they're very fast, they're all fully recruited, and they're from around the world, and all that. But it's a good early-season test for us, if we're anywhere near them at all, then we know that we have some good speed, especially at a time when we haven't been on the water, except for a week in February.
Aaron: How are the boats looking, compared to what you did at the Head of the Charles, this past fall?
Peter Steenstra: Pretty similar, on the women's side in particular, we had a couple people coming back from abroad, so with them coming back, it's nice, and we have one of the returning varsity eight members from the fall who has got an injury, that's Sally Harris Porter, she's kind of dealing with that through this week, so she won't be racing this weekend, but having the juniors back from abroad is big, and there's a couple strong people in there, so we'll see how it goes.
Aaron: Tell us about your captains on both teams.
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, the captains are in a good position. We've got Sophia Rintell, we've got Sophie Claus, is another one, and then Claudia Glickman. So those are the three women's captains. They're a good bunch, they work well together, they each have their strengths, they each have distinctly different personalities, I would say, and they've been able to work well with us, with the coaching staff, pretty easily.
Peter Steenstra: On the men's side, it's Eric Jordan and Trevor Fry. Two distinctly different people, which is great to see, because it's fun to watch them just trying to work together as a couple of captains, and guys that share this common thread that is a sport, and I just honestly don't know that they would even know each other if it weren't for the fact that they both love rowing, and they're a part of a good program, so they're figuring all that aspect out, but we're so far into the year, at this point, that they've worked through almost everything, and it's just time to perform.
Aaron: How, specifically, do their personalities differ?
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, Eric Jordan is a pretty intense guy, if you can crack a smile on him, then you're doing something right, and Trevor Fry is one of the nicest people around, that you're ever gonna meet, and he's very aware of what the team's pulse is, and how everyone's feeling, and he seems to know every single person on campus, any time I'm standing there with the guy, at least ten people walk by, and say hi to Trevor, so he's pretty well-known, I guess.
Aaron: And then on the woman's side, Rintell's been doing this since she was a first-year, in terms of being in the first boat, right?
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, she is, right. You could say that she's pretty battle-tested at this point. She knows what she's doing, and she's leading from that position of being in the stern end of the boat, and being a senior, and being a long-time member of the varsity eight.
Aaron: Is it a good thing that you have these seniors who still remember what it's like not to win a national championship?
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, I guess so. We don't spend a lot of time looking back, that's for sure. They're very focused on what is the task at hand, and moving forward into the season, and we're a long way from NCAAs, much less anything else, so we've got our work cut out for us, and they're ranked first in pre-season polls, and all that kind of stuff, but no one's even been on the water yet, so who knows what's gonna happen.
Aaron: Well, yeah, I was gonna ask, like surveying the landscape of women's rowing, you know Williams is going to have a presence of some sort, you've seen Ithaca, in recent years. Who are some other schools Bates should keep an eye on this year, maybe looking forward to seeing them compete with before NCAAs, or at NCAAs, perhaps.
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, I know I'm supposed to know this, right away, but there's nothing to go on. I mean, we have Charles results, and we have a whole bunch of people just like us, who have kids coming back from abroad, but really there isn't any way to know. Because anything that we're doing in our spring training trips is just scrimmage work, you're not really supposed to be posting any of those results. So I would say that Wesleyan is gonna be strong, as usual, Williams will be strong, WPI is gonna be strong, because they're the ones that kinda made it to NCAAs, and then surprised a lot of people with a big third place team finish. But, I think the field continues to improve as training deeper into the divisions is only going up. There's no one in the rowing world who's saying, "You know what, let's not bother with it, we'll just let it go as it is, and we won't try and get any better." Everyone is obviously trying to get better, so they're changing what they're doing, and that makes for more interesting races.
Aaron: Do you get more of a sense by New Englands, or before that, perhaps?
Peter Steenstra: I mean, we'll know more within the next three weeks, here, and we're the ones that are kind of going into exam time, and then we have that nice break, where get to do a lot of training, leading into the New England championships, but I think we'll have a good idea of who the real competitors are in this region by the week before New Englands.
Aaron: Rowing obviously the ultimate team sport, everyone working in unison, the coxswains stand out a little bit because they're the ones not rowing, they're the ones instructing and motivating, who are the coxswains this year on the men and women's side.
Peter Steenstra: Well, the easy part is I can say that Liza Folsom, on the women's side, is varsity eight. And you got the Elise Grossfeld is the women's second eight. And so things on the women's side are a little bit more clear cut. And on the men's side, at this point, I wouldn't even say who the top coxswain is. We have a senior, in Ariel Lee, we've got a junior in Holland Doyle, who came back from abroad, we have a really strong up-and-coming first-year, Saltman. Evan Saltman, we call him Salty. And then we have a pure novice, who's just getting better, leaps and bounds, Aidan Temperino, who started out with us last year, but he just keeps getting better and better all the time, so it's a pretty interesting dynamic, on the men's side, for the coxswains, and there's ... unfortunately, we have four coxswains, and there's gonna be somebody who doesn't have a boat, come race time, so we've got some work to do there, to figure out who's who.
Aaron: So, interesting, so Aidan came into Bates having no experience at all being a coxswain, and you ended up taking, I remember, Aidan to IRAs last year, he didn't necessarily be a coxswain in the boat, but was there.
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, not only that, but he ended up filling in at the Charles, this fall.
Aaron: Okay, yeah.
Peter Steenstra: Because Ariel was the coxswain scheduled for that race, she ended up having to fly out of town, and was gonna fly in, and there was a problem with the flight, so she didn't make it-
Aaron: Good luck!
Peter Steenstra: So Tempy just jumped in, and said, "I got it, Coach, I'll take care of it," and he did the best he could, and they had a disappointing piece down there, but you can't say it was all just him and his driving, so I would say that he really took it on the nose, down there, with that race, but at the same time, he was willing to stick his neck out, and do it. He could also have said, "No, I don't wanna do that right now." And he would have probably been justified in doing that, but he stepped up to the occasion, and did the best he could, and I think that he learned a lot about himself and his courage level, and everything, and again, just adding that into the mix of the year, it's gonna be interesting.
Aaron: Do you see a lot of competition for the first varsity eight this year, men and women's side, or is it set somewhat at this point?
Peter Steenstra: Oh, we're not even close.
Aaron: Lot of competition?
Peter Steenstra: Lot of competition. On the men's side, it's a big first-year class, so there are at least two guys that are pretty securely in that boat, but there's at least two others that are knocking on the door. And on the women's side, we have ... man, I would say we have 11 deep, as far as people who can make that group. So it's an ... injuries, and things like that, aside, we have a long way to go, to figure out who's gonna be making up these eights.
Aaron: What are you most looking for, what are you trying to notice this weekend, your first regatta, first time on the water in quite a bit?
Peter Steenstra: I'm looking forward to just seeing liquid water. That's my number one thing, I can't wait for that. I can't wait to see if we have all the parts for all the boats, and if everything's gonna go together properly, and all that kind of stuff.
Peter Steenstra: Yeah, exactly. We're just excited to get on the water. The athletes have been working hard, even long before me and the other coaches came in, they've been working hard, and I think that they're getting a little tired of being in the erg-room, and who can blame them, right? There's only so much erging you can do before you start to lose it a little bit.
Aaron: Alright, well we're looking forward to seeing the Bobcats out on the water this weekend, down in Boston, Peter Steenstra, thanks so much for previewing the rowing season.
Peter Steenstra: Great, thanks.
Aaron: Next time on the Bates Bobcast, we’ll recap the opening weekend of NESCAC play for the softball and baseball teams! The lacrosse teams take on Hamilton this Saturday, with the men hosting the Continentals at noon on Garcelon Field. We’ll recap all that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!