March 28, 2008

W. Crew Anticipates Successful Season

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Before a single boat even launched into the water from the docks of the John Collyer Boathouse last spring, the 2007 women’s rowing team was left high and dry on shore in the wake of a sudden coaching switch when former head coach Dan Roock was replaced by head coach Hilary Gehman.
The resulting changes in the team’s training regimen and coaching style were a considerable shock to the squad. Fortunately, most of last year’s varsity boat returns to the inlet, one year later, with more experience and an unrivaled determination to build upon the hard work they did in the 2007 season.
The returning rowers will be a large part of this season’s potential success. Already the varsity eight placed 14th in a competitive field at the Eastern Sprints last year despite some struggles early in the season.
Some of the top returnees include senior captain Caitlin Mance, senior Kim Kraemer, senior Delana Spaulding, senior Sarah Griffin and junior Cathleen Balantic.
“We have a really strong senior class this year, which is definitely going to help us out,” said junior Kate Galligan.
Two-time Olympian Gehman will get the chance to coach her first full season as a Red head coach, having been named the Staley Head Coach of Women’s Rowing in June of 2007.
A strong senior class will benefit the team by providing a boat full of seasoned rowers and by acting as a good example for the underclassmen that will try to fill their water-logged shoes next year.
“Retaining a lot of the good people from last year is a plus as far as the season goes so we can build on last year and keep moving forward,” Galligan said.
The women look to improve their winning record this season and make the grand finals at the 2008 Eastern Sprints, a title Ivy rival Yale claimed in 2007.
“Our goals are to make the grand finals at Sprints and to beat as many boats as possible in the regular season,” Galligan said. “We want to be competitive with most of the boats that we do race.”
This past fall, the women offered several outstanding performances in numerous regattas, including first-place finishes at the annual Syracuse Invitational as well as the Head of the Gennessee Invitational Regatta in Rochester.
Hard work both in the fall races and during winter training coupled with the boat’s maturity and a fresh coaching style has placed the women at the start of a promising 2008 season.
“We had a pretty rough season [last year] but we’ve made a lot of improvements and great strides,” Galligan said. “I think this year we are definitely going to win some races and hopefully make it to the grand finals.”