Pioneer Crew:  Senior captain Jacob Segal finds his sport and his future in crew


Jacob Segal first tried getting in the water. But that didn’t take.

“I thought I would be doing sports in the water rather than on the water and had done swimming for many years and tried water polo in eighth grade,” said Segal, a senior at Pioneer High School. “I didn’t like either and realized I needed to find another sport.”

The other sport he discovered also involved water but instead of diving in, it was all about staying dry. He tried rowing in middle school and it didn’t take him long to discover that he had found his sport.

“I like that crew provides me an opportunity to be outside every day in a natural setting,” said Segal, one of three senior captains on this year’s Pioneer crew team. “I have also made some of my very best friends on this team and having a dedicated time to be with them is really special.”

It’s also about staying in shape and being healthy.

“I also enjoy the fact that with crew I can keep my body in top notch physical condition,” he says. “Finally, I enjoy the mechanics and science of how we move the boat through the water.”

Last year’s Pioneer crew team won multiple medals at the Frogtown Regatta in Toledo and the Speakmon Regatta in Columbus, Ohio. The team also achieved first place overall at the Head of the Grand Regatta in Lansing.

Success in crew is all about cohesiveness and support – everyone not only rowing in the same direction but focused on the same goal.

“Everyone is there to help make everyone else faster,” says Segal. “We also have been really successful at recruiting novices to join. This has increased the depth of the team to a point where there are lots of fast guys.

“We also have a talented coaching staff who care about everyone and not just the fastest boats. Our head coach, Rich Griffith, knows how to motivate us and make us as technically fast as possible.”

Parents also play a big role in crew. And don’t think that the kids take their energy and efforts and enthusiasm for granted.

“We have an awesome group of parent volunteers who make our regattas filled with warm delicious food, a dry tent, and supportive comments,” Segal says.

The Pioneers are looking for another strong season this spring. Segal says the Pioneers have strong front-line rowers and great depth which will allow them to enter numerous boats at every regatta.

“We are all looking forward to having a good time and being as fast and technically sound as we can be,” he says. “My goal is to leave everything on the water after each race. If I can do that, then I will be happy with the race regardless of the outcome.”

Segal will carry his passion for crew onto college. He plans on rowing next year at Purdue University. The Big Ten for a Big Time rower! Sounds like he found that sport he was looking for.


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