If our sport were a little bit bigger, those athletes who make the US National Team would be on ESPN, as it is the highest level of rowing you can attain. Kyle Lafferty ’10 did something only four Bucknell Alumni have done in the past. He joins Nick Cindrich, Brett Wilkinson, Cynthia Ryder Matthes and Sarah Dan Besten Collins to become the fifth Bucknell Crew Alumnus to represent the United States at the World Championships.
Lafferty who was rowing with Riverside Boat Club in Boston, MA has had quite the summer. After going toe to toe with the top boats at National Selection Regatta #2 in the lightweight mens pair, Kyle was invited to the lightweight four camp in Oklahoma City, OK. Since the lightweight mens four is one of only two Olympic boat classes in lightweight rowing (the other being the double) the United States brings its top 12 rowers to this camp each year. The Oklahoma City Higher Performance Center is also the headquarters for US lightweight mens rowing team.
“It’s an ideal training atmosphere in the sense that we are all competing against each other every day. Being around the best makes everyone in the group better. If everyone is pushing each other every day, then the entire group will benefit,” said Kyle.
At the camp the rowers rowed twice a day with the occasional third session reserved for weight lifting. Most of the selection and racing pieces were done in the morning with the afternoons reserved for steady state and recovery rows. Additionally, the rowers have access to some of the best coaching and facilities in the US, including rowing tanks, pools and an altitude simulation room.
Kyle mentioned there was one thing that could be improved upon. “I think we were spoiled at Bucknell on the Susquehanna River having great water almost all the time. It was very windy and the wind was something we all had to deal with most days.”
After a month of rowing and selection in Oklahoma, Kyle returned to New England where he attended the lightweight men’s eight camp held out of Dartmouth University’s boathouse in Hanover, NH. After several more weeks of selection the eight was filled and Lafferty, being the 5th port in this elite group, took his talents to trials in the pair.
The rest is history as they say and Kyle will be representing the United States in the lightweight pair after a very intense summer of competition and travel.
While ESPN won’t show rowing highlights in the foreseeable future, you can bet that this would have made the daily top ten. As much of an accomplishment as this is for Kyle, this is also a great day for Bucknell Men’s crew as it shows that the level of talent on the team extends onto the international stage.