2010 Winter Olympics Continue In Rolla

Just when you think you’re done with pairs skating, half-pipe and the skeleton (huh?), you find out that NBC hasn’t bothered to cover the Olympic synchronized canoe paddling finals.
Tucked away in the decidedly unfrozen S&T pool is a dedicated group of STUDENT-athletes practicing the exquisite moves of coed canoe racing. The Miner Concrete Canoe Team is about halfway through the month-long curing process for their 2010 boat, and they aren’t just sitting back watching cement dry. Each Sunday this crew adjourns to the S&T pool for an hour of upper-body workouts to build the strength and style they’ll need to push their heavy craft through the regional ASCE competition’s slalom and endurance races.
Team Leader Arch Creasy coordinates this exercise that includes three-member male and female contingents, as well as a 4-member combined team of two men and two women. Their April event is not a race in the normal sense, but a way of proving that the end product of a sophisticated educational challenge actually works as designed. Each engineering team designs and builds a boat of unorthodox material, which for 2010 includes recycled glass and plastic beads. They present their engineering designs to industry professionals for evaluation and feedback, much like they will do in their careers. Each team also gets to study their opponents’ boats to see if maybe there isn’t another concept that they overlooked, and that, too, is a learning opportunity.
The actual races, while largely serious to the participants, DO have a high fun element. Some teams are highly disciplined, some paddle so furiously that they swamp their own boats (think Black and Gold), and some schools (specifically the state just south of Missouri) seem to think they can earn extra points for high comedy.