The low whir of rowing machines joined the usual shouts of student organizations tabling on Speedway as Texas Crew held their annual Row Across Texas fundraiser.
The goal of the three-day fundraiser is for the team to row 801 miles, the longest straight distance across Texas. From Monday to Wednesday, members will be rowing outside of Speedway Plaza and Littlefield Fountain.
“We just divided the 801 miles up amongst the 100 members and it turned into around 16,000 meters for each person,” Texas Crew president Lila Bishop said. “It takes each person around an hour and a half to complete.”
Bishop, general geology senior, said because they are a club team, they do not receive much funding from the University and rely on donations to pay for equipment and other expenses.
“We hire a full-time head coach and four other coaches,” Bishop said. “We also travel all across the country for competitions and hold a week long spring break trip in Louisiana, so our funds go towards that as well as equipment because a new boat costs around $40,000.”
With a $1 donation, participants can race a rower for 250 meters or have them pull ten full race power strokes. The team will also accept donations online through HornRaiser until Nov. 30.
“Today is our first day and we have had pretty much every machine filled throughout the day,” fundraising chair Sebastian Enrico said. “People are typically confused when they walk by because the rowing machine is typically one you see in the gym, but as they come up and start to listen, they become more interested.”
Enrico, a neuroscience sophomore, said the ergometer machines used for the fundraiser are also part of their normal practice routine.
“It’s like lifting weights or running a track for other sports. You have to get in that practice on the machine before you can get up the speed on the boat,” Enrico said. “We’ll practice on them two to three times a week now that it’s winter season, just getting in those meters.”
Undeclared freshman Claire Bills said participating in this fundraiser has been a nice change from their usual practices.
“It’s definitely more interesting than just erging by yourself,” Bills said. “It’s fun because you get to see everybody try and challenge us and partake in the sport, and it’s cool just to show everybody what we do every morning at 5 a.m.”