The Georgetown and George Washington crew teams know what dedication means.
Dedication is putting up with such little inconveniences as predawn practice sessions, tantrums by the moody Potomac caused by spring's erratic weather and the congestion of pleasure craft on the river during their regatta yesterday.
They tolerate these difficulties, and more, as they launch their craft from Thompson's Water Sports Center, for the privilege of racing those shells.
In addition, this year the water in the boathouse has yet to be turned on.
"No water," John Devlin, Georgetown women's coach, muttered. "I don't know about the kids, but a coach needs a bathroom."
To further complicate matters, only one of the two docks had been placed in the water by Friday, making it possible to load only one shell into the river at a time.With two schools' men's and women's crews, as well as several out-of-town crews spending spring break working out at Thompson's, things can get hectic.
"It's hampered us," said Joy Forster, coach of the Georgetown men. "We have kids who have 8 o'clock classes (practice starts at 6 a.m.), We only have a certain amount of daylight. If it takes long to get in and get out (of the water), we lost practice time. Every year they (Thompson's) raise our rates and we get less (no water, one portable john and one dock). What can we do? They're the only show in town."
With the recent winds and cold weather further reducing water time, Forster will have to wait and see how well the Hoyas will do in his second year as coach.
The Hoya men's opener against Williams is scheduled at Thompson's at 7 a.m. Tuesday. He has some experience in three returnees: Don Donahue, Marty Mattessich and Pete Radell. Radell rowed in the third seat of the Hoya straight four last July, which lost in the semifinals for the Visitors' Challenge Cup at the Henley Regatta.
"Technique will make or break us," Forster said. "Sizewise, we're smaller than most crews, but if they're excellent technicians they can overcome that."
While Forster is looking toward "the Dad Vail finals" in Philadelphia, first-year George Washington Coach Joe Carcillo is "looking just to win our first race in however many years it's been. I'd like to elevate our program."
Randy Deshenne, the only veteran, will serve as stroke on this young crew.
At Navy, Rick Clothier has No. 2 Ray Griggs, No. 4 Steve Moreau, No. 7 Don Lyons and coxswain Tim Griffith back from a heavyweight eight which placed fifth in the Eastern Sprints.
Clothier won't make seat decisions until Monday, but "we could have as many as five sophomores in the top boat" elevated from last year's outstanding freshman eight (third in the Sprints) to do battle with most of the Eastern powers, including Syracuse and Harvard.
Georgetown looks like the class of the area women and Devlin has set winning the Dad Vail championship as his goal for an eight which has seven oarswomen back from last year's team that finished in sixth place in the Vails. Jo Grainger in the bow is the only senior in the boat which includes five sophomores and a freshman.
Navy Coach Jett Brown looks for improvement as his women's squad enters its second varsity season with everybody back. A strong novice boat should help in the future after the women have their first graduation this summer in Annapolis.
Donna Barton, in her second year as GW coach, has 14 women out with Ann Pribulka, Diane Batson, Eileen Crofts and Tins Halpin returning.