UR Women’s Rowing (URWR) finished their regular season strong with a victory at the Kerr Cup Regatta in Philadelphia on Sunday. The First Varsity 8+ (person boat) and Second Varsity 8+ both qualified for the DIII Varsity 8+ Grand Final. As a result of their performance, the First Varsity 8+ boat was named the Liberty League Women’s Boat of the Week.
In the finals, UR’s First and Second Varsity faced off against Mid-Atlantic First Varsity crews from Franklin & Marshall, Bryn Mawr, and Mary Washington, as well as Franklin & Marshall’s Second Varsity crew. UR 1V 8+ finished at 6:53.49, beating F&M’s 1V by a five-minute margin. The team also entered a Varsity 4, which fought back from a large deficit in the finals to finish in third place .
The First Varsity 8 was comprised of coxswain and junior Crystal Hoffman, senior Bella Clemente, junior Alice Bandeian, sophomore Gianna Macri, senior Clare McMahon, sophomore Julie Profeta, junior Morgan Miller, sophomore Rebecca Fuchs, and sophomore Sarabeth Rambold.
While the Second Varsity 8 included coxswain and freshman Laura Castelein freshmen Claudia Weaver, Colleen Stone, Lauryn Fluellen, Colleen Dunlea, Gillian Schwartz , and Josephine Foong; and sophomores Vada Coe and Stephanie Taylor.
“We went to this regatta with confidence in ourselves to make it out of heats and be competitive in the Grand Finals,” Clemente said. “All of our boats have put in incredible time and effort, and it was exciting to finally see all of our hard work pay off.”
After overcoming several obstacles to start the season, including injuries, changes to the lineups, and weather problems, the Yellowjackets also faced the challenge of strengthening their mental toughness.
“I think one weakness we’ve had to deal with is getting nervous and frantic when facing tougher competition and difficult conditions, which I think really impacted our performance when we raced Ithaca and RIT at the start of the season,” Macri said. The sophomore emphasized that the team has centered its recent work around “focusing on [ourselves]” and recognized the need to “stay calm” in order to “be really competitive.”
The ‘Jackets’ collective team dynamic plays a key role in overcoming these issues.
“I have never been with a more motivating and supportive network, and I don’t think I could find a better group of people to workout with,” Clemente said.
In accordance with Clemente, Bandeian recalls that rowing is a sport dependent on team chemistry, and it is the most rewarding when “you click together as a boat.”
On the water, these women find that their success is not only through their team’s harmony, but is reliant upon the altruistic acts from each member. Although the sport is more physically intense than most are accustomed to, Foong pushes the discomfort aside for her teammates. “[You] remember that you are pushing for not just you, but for the other 7 people + coxswain in the boat,” Foong said.
The team will take their reliance to compete in the Liberty League championship next Friday. It is clear that Clemente will not only be motivated by the closing of her career, but that it will be her teammates feeding her with grit.
“My team reminds me to never give up, because mental weakness is where you lose the most,”she said.
Bandeian, in particular, hopes that URWR rises to the occasion and finds a way to “beat [our] fastest 2k time.”
“This has really been a defining season for UR rowing,” Bandeian said. “The team has become even closer and stronger throughout this season, and I can’t wait to see what is next.”