On Sunday, April 3, the UC San Diego Men's varsity
eight rowing team made history by becoming the first non-Division I and first
San Diego-based collegiate boat to reach the finals of the Copley Cup, the most
prestigious race at the annual San Diego Crew Classic. The Tritons finished
fifth that day and occupying the seventh seat in their shell was junior Drew
Lawyer, a newcomer out of Orange Coast College whose subtle effectiveness has
not been lost on Head Coach Zach Johnson. "Drew brings a toughness and work
ethic to the boat," said Johnson. "You can always count on him to execute the
race plan." With the championship portion of the season looming, the Yorba
Linda native took time to share his thoughts on the Crew Classic, the nature of
his sport and what's on the horizon for his team this spring.
Q-How did it feel
to be part of history at last weekend's San Diego Crew Classic?
LAWYER- It's an
honor to be a part of this program. The coaching staff has done a great job
building this team with great support from the university. I'm just really
happy to be a part of this team and all the accomplishments that have come with
Q-Just making it to
the grand final of the Copley Cup was a great accomplishment but how did you
feel about the team's fifth place finish?
executed the race plan really well on Saturday and made it to the grand finals
like we planned. As for taking fifth in the final, no one is ever happy losing
but we all understood that it is a credit to the program to have finally earned
our spot in competition against crews of that caliber.
Q-Do you think all
of the hoopla surrounding the team's qualifying in Saturday's heat helped or
hurt the performance Sunday?
with the media was a new thing for the guys in boat, but we were pretty much
able to stick to our schedule and maintain our focus.
Q-How long have you
been rowing and what first got you interested in the sport? What were some of
your earliest attempts like and how long did it take you to get proficient?
actually tried out for the basketball team at Orange Coast College, and didn't
end up making the team. I saw crew listed as one of the sports on the gym wall,
having no idea about it, I was immediately intrigued. I went to the OCC
website and they had a recruiting video that got me hooked. This is my third
year competing and I am growing more passionate about the sport every day.
you to UCSD and how much of a role did crew play in your decision?
leaving OCC it came down to Wisconsin or UCSD. After visiting the school and
knowing its high academic standards it was an easy decision to move down south.
I would be lying if I didn't say that crew played a big part of my decision in
coming to UCSD. The attitudes of the coaches and the guys on the team made me
feel that I would be at home here. My instincts were right and I couldn't be
happier with the school and program that I get to represent.
occupy the "7th seat," one of the closest to the stern, a position
that is typically requires a mix of strength and technique. How would you
describe your "responsibilities?"
seven seat is a big responsibility in the boat and it is nice to know that
coach and the guys trust me to translate what our stroke seat is doing on port
side to the starboard side. The way that I see it, it is my job to keep
cranking on it and to set a power standard. I've been happy to sit at any seat
with this crew, everyone is taking it upon themselves to work at a higher
level, but seven seat sure does feel good.
Q-How do the tasks at the "bow" differ from those at the stern?
comes down to is the stern sets the pace and rhythm for the boat while the bow's
main focus is to concentrate on applying consistent power and keeping the boat
steady through the water.
Q-How much of crew
is brute strength and how much is technique? Can a physically smaller crew
prevail over a bigger rival?
experience it is about a 50:50 ratio. In 2008 the Wisconsin varsity eight was
shorter and lighter than everyone else in the grand final, and they still left
with gold medals. On the other hand Washington State won WIRA with big guys
into a headwind.
Q-What type of
training (pre-season and in-season) does the team do to prepare for the
physical demands of your sport?
summer we take a slight break from rowing to keep our sanity. This involves running, weight lifting,
rock climbing, cycling, basically anything that doesn't have to do with rowing.
The fall season workouts that we do are geared more towards setting a
foundation. A lot of endurance work on the ergs and on the water helps us build
a base that we can later build a sprint off of. In the spring it is about
translating the fitness to precision and speed. The workouts are shorter and
anaerobic levels are pushed. Though the fall can seem long and draining the
spring is characterized by a fierce burning pain.
Q-Can you describe
what you're thinking and what your body feels like over the last quarter of a
2,000 m. race?
LAWYER- To do a
race justice, you have to put the last 500 meters into perspective. I
would describe the first three-quarters of the race as battling back and forth
and executing the race plan at the peak of your physical ability. As for the
last 500m you have now reached the point where your mind is not thinking
clearly. Your lungs are on fire and lactic acid is building up because you're
going into oxygen debt. Basically as your vision fades you hope that you don't
pass out before you cross the finish line. For me the worst part comes when we
stop rowing. My legs burn so much cutting them off is a serious contemplation.
Q-What other sport do you think is most like crew?
Cycling, Swimming and Speed Skating come to mind. I've recently come to see dog
sledding as the most closely-related sport. The endurance and teamwork
displayed while dragging a yelling overlord through extreme mental and physical
conditions rings true.
Q-How important are
group dynamics in a boat with eight rowers and a coxswain? What type of
communication is taking place during a typical race?
dynamics between the nine people in the boat are very essential to a crew's
success. As for the communication aspect of the race the only person talking in
the boat is the coxswain. The coxswain should essentially be an extension of
the coach on the water. He is the only form of communication during a race
within the boat.
Q-Can you describe
some of the individual personalities in this year's varsity eight lineup?
LAWYER- As with
every team there is a very diverse combination on this team. With this year the
group of guys that we have is really close. Being a transfer I was kind of wary
about the guys coming in, because it was a little intimidating coming in to
this program, but it seemed to work itself out and I couldn't ask for more from
Q-What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
LAWYER- In my
spare time I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and cycling. Most recently I have
developed a great interest in stock trading. Oh... yeah, I also enjoy the
occasional long walks under the moonlight on the beach.
Biological Sciences major. What do you hope to do with that degree?
LAWYER- I hope
to pursue a career in Physical Therapy with an emphasis in sports therapy.
"championship" portion of the season starts in about two weeks at the SIRA
Championships in Tennessee. What does the team want to accomplish before the
and foremost our most immediate goal is to win SIRA (Southern conference) and
WIRA (Western conference). Both which are qualifying races for IRA's. The IRA's
have been the main focus in our program this year and we hope to finish as high
as we can in competition with some of the best crews in the nation.
Q-At the Crew
Classic, you were sporting a pretty sweet handlebar mustache. It's gone now but
what was behind its appearance last week and are we likely to see it again in
I thought at the
beginning of the school year I should start mustache March early. The agreement
with the team was that if we made the grand final I would style it into the "epicness"
that was presented at Crew Classic. The liklihood that it will be returning
next year is to be determined in the upcoming months.
Previous Q & A Articles
Keith Okasaki (Men's Golf) March 26, 2011
Matt Herman (Men's Swimming & Diving) March 12, 2011
Hanalei Crowell (Women's Water Polo) March 5, 2011
Camille Gaito (Softball) February 23, 2011
Tim Shibuya (Baseball) February 8, 2011
Carl Eberts (Men's Volleyball) January 31, 2011
Neda Nguyen (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 24, 2011
Amy Bianchini (Fencing) January 14, 2011
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2010
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2010
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
Bryce Madsen (Men's Water Polo) September 23, 2010
Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009