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With Hamilton crew having one more -- unanticipated -- day before returning to competition, we look back at sunnier times as Grant Meglis '14 recaps race day during the spring trip to Florida.

The 4:15 alarm came too soon on Saturday morning. There were a few whoops on the bus ride from the HoJo to the Rollins College boathouse but for the most part, we were all groggy until 6 a.m.

After rigging our boats in the dark and waking up our bodies, we realized the following:  Snow hasn’t touched this area in years, Shaq has a house on the lake and this is definitely alligator country. I don’t think anyone saw any alligators, but the possibility may have made some of us pull harder. At one point, an official relayed a story of a past race in which a gator popped up under the rigger of a boat at the start.

A thin layer of fog gently held as the first boats launched around 7:30 a.m. for the first few races at 8. The water was glassy and the air was cool, but humid, and the temperature promised to rise. Later in the morning, the sun arose within a beautiful blue sky over the lake.

The race itself consisted of a 1,950-meter stretch of water with a slightly staggered floating start. The boats lined up in a small inlet, guided by officials. At the start, rowers surged their boats forward into the middle of the lake for 1,000 meters. At that point a set of buoys signified a slight turn toward port until the 1,500-meter mark of the race. A 450-meter sprint awaited beaten and battered crews until the finish. Our coxswains and rowers faced a challenging set of races.

The regatta provided Hamilton crew potential for the future, but left us hungry for more. Some of our boats earned gold medals and others gave good performances. Our rows for the most part felt fast, but the Florida crews out-stroked us and looked more comfortable on the water. Given the little time we had on the water, Hamilton crew did well. But of course in order to compete in late spring, we have a lot of work to do to perform at a higher level.

After the races we quickly de-rigged and ate our delivered lunches. Unfortunately, lunch wasn’t Hamilton’s Commons airdropped in from Marge via chopper, but it was composed of delicious subs. After an exciting day of racing, we all slept on the ride back, rerigged our boats at the Tampa docks and returned to the HoJo for naps until dinner.

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