Marist Rowing Breeds Competition Through “Le Tour De Pough”

Whether a fall season awaits them or not, the Marist Men’s Rowing Team have gone above and beyond the call of offseason preparation and fitness.

Across the country, thousands of college teams are struggling to find ways to keep their athletes active and in shape during the months of quarantine. The rowers has developed a competition amongst its team members called “Le Tour de Pough.” As you may assume, the competition draws inspiration from the world renown Le Tour de France. Rowing head coach Campbell Woods has always been a fan of the complexity of Le Tour de France’s stages and awards as it gives athletes the chance to compete on multiple stages and breeds competition. Upon dawning on the idea, Coach Woods spoke with other members of the coaching staff and the team captains to further develop the plans.

Coach Woods wanted to express that all actions from the athletes are completely voluntary. Current NCAA offseason rules do not allow coach monitored workouts which keeps Woods from attendance.

“I want to make that clear because the NCAA does not permit coach monitored work at this time,” said Woods. “While our coaches have helped to organize the tour, we are in no way monitoring the day-to-day performance of these athletes, and their performance and participation in the tour will have no bearing on their future selection for the team.”

Team captain Dmitrey Guenther is responsible for organizing and explaining the rules of Le Tour de Pough to his fellow teammates. Guenther outlined these details saying, “We have eight teams of six athletes. The overall objective for each team is to accumulate as many meters as possible and the team with the most meters at the end of the Tour is crowned the winner.”

Teams can acquire these meters by participating in a number of individual exercises, such as rowing, running, and swimming. Not every exercise gains an individual the same number of meters.

“It wouldn’t be in-line with our training plan to have meters on a bicycle be equivalent to meters on the rowing machine, especially because it requires far less energy to go the same distance on a bike than it would on a rowing machine,” said Guenther. “Thus, cycling meters are worth one-third of a meter on a rowing machine.”

Once the players complete their exercises, they submit their workout to Rows.Tech, which is a website created by Ray Mattingly, Class of 2019 Marist graduate, to better connect the team to each other, their workouts, and important analytical information regarding the team’s statistics. 

There are also individual challenges whose winners are awarded with a corresponding jersey. Much like Le Tour de France, these jerseys are awarded to leaders in specific categories and are meant to highlight individual skills and performances. In total, there are five different types of jerseys: 

Yellow Jersey – Overall Leader of Total Meters

White Jersey – Top Young Rower (Freshman)

Green Jersey – Sprint Leader

Polka Dot Jersey – Most Cross Training Meters (non-rowing)

Team Jersey – Best Team Total Meter

The competition is not limited to just the rowers on the team, either. The team’s coxswains also play an important role during the team’s offseason workouts. Alysha Johnson, a sophomore coxswain, has found that her usual duties are now on a larger scale. 

“During Le Tour de Pough, my job includes recording data into a spreadsheet for the coaches as well as relaying information from the coaches to my team. The biggest change to me is that I am now training to contribute meters to my team,” she said. “ My normal goal as a coxswain is to meet the ideal weight requirements, more so than gaining speed, because my job in the boat is to steer and relay the information. I do all the same workouts I would be doing but now I’m logging them for meters.”

Le Tour de Pough has now become an important tool for the team to stay motivated and connected.

“I think Le Tour de Pough is definitely keeping the team together because it allows us to compete with each other like we would on the water,” said Johnson. “I think that when you see others training it motivates you to train as well. It’s a new way for us to adapt as a team during these uncertain times and I’m excited to see the result of all of our hard work in the fall.” Others echoed Johnson’s sentiment and are eager to see where this will lead them in the new season.

Currently, the team is in the third stage of Le Tour de Pough. They have plans to continue to challenge one another throughout the summer and compete so that they may find success in the fall.

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