The typical college student dreads 8 a.m. classes, and very few can even imagine what 5:30 a.m. looks like.

The members of Tennessee's club crew team see it all the time.

"We have been practicing at 5:30 in the morning," Bret Elam, president of the team, said. "And coming off a great summer rowing program we are looking to be really competitive this year."

It seems that the rowing team has been becoming more and more competitive over the years, and Elam pointed out there were a few contributing factors involved in that.

"Just that certain individuals have stepped up," Elam said. "Coaches are doing a great job keeping guys coming back and advertising the team."

And to meet their goals this year, Elam knows they will have to continue to improve with hard work everyday. He said they are also looking for certain teams to do special things.

"Coming into this year, our numbers are up," Elam said. "We are going to more races, so we should be more competitive. Also, the Novice girls' team has a lot more members this year then they ever had before."

The varsity will get a chance to start working toward its goals in a few days with its first regatta scheduled for this weekend in Cincinnati. The Vols also have their first home regatta Oct. 19.

Elam also said the team members are focused on the task ahead of them.

"With the summer rowing program helping us going into the fall season, we really think we can get a medal at the Head of the Hooch Regatta in Georgia," Elam said.

And Elam left no questions about what it takes to be a member of the team.

"It takes dedication; it's definitely an endurance sport," Elam said. "It takes a willingness to commit to something that is very physically demanding."

But putting everything else aside, Elam feels this year's team can accomplish its goals and keep the reputation of the team going. It seems the Vols have gotten a nickname of sorts from a T-shirt they had two years ago. They are known as the "Rowdiest Crew in the South."


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