By Meagan White
Elm Staff Writer
On Saturday March 25, the Shorewomen rowing team will host its season opener; the Head of the Chester Regatta. The Shorewomen look to return to the National Collegiate Athletics Association Championship this year after nearly missing the bid in 2022.
The Shorewomen rowing team competes in the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference. From 2012-2021, excluding 2020, the Shorewomen have secured the MARC Championship title, earning them a bid to the NCAA National Championships.
In 2022, the Shorewomen took second behind Saint Mary’s College in the MARC Championship, ending their nine-year streak. The second Varsity boat took first in their heat while the first varsity boat took second by only three tenths’ seconds. Saint Mary’s narrowly secured their victory in 2022. Both teams are expected to be fierce competitors for the upcoming season.
Captains senior MacKenzie Westfield and junior Kamden Richardson shared that the team’s goal this season is to return from MARC as champions again.
“It was disappointing to not win the conference last year, so I’m hoping we can take that momentum into this season to just find some serious motivation and some serious speed out of it,” Richardson said. “We want to go fast and get even better this season and really throw down against our rivals when the time comes.”
Head coach Kari Hughes added that the team’s success is measured far beyond time and speed.
“In saying that, though, we work to never lose sight of the big picture: who are we becoming in the process?” said Hughes. “It is the relationships we build and the people we become through the work and pursuit of a lofty goal that really count in the end.
She added, “Fast boats don’t make good people, good people make fast boats. That is one of the sayings we live by.”
The Shorewomen have been practicing since late January and completed a six-week fall season. The Shorewomen will remain in the urge room for the next few weeks preparing to get on the water.
“We’re looking really good. Being on land for six weeks can be challenging but I think that everyone is putting in 110% every day at practice and that is exactly what we want to be seeing,” said Westfield. “Everyone is getting faster and stronger which is very exciting when we look ahead to the start of the racing portion of the season.”
This attitude of dedication and hard work reflects the team’s motto: “Team, Boat, Self.” According to Hughes, rowing is the ultimate team sport, requiring every member to work together and be successful. All nine athletes in the boat are essential to complete the race.
“We ask our athletes to think about decisions they are making and decisions such as individual boat placement in the context of ‘Is this good for my team?,’ ‘Is this good for my Boat?’ and then lastly ‘Is this good for me?’” said Hughes.
“Over the years, our athletes have found that when they work together for the good of the team and for the good of their boat, they are helping themselves at the same time. There is always someone behind you who has your back and someone in front of you leading the way,” said Hughes.
The Shoremen start off their season with their first and only home regatta on Saturday, March 25. They will compete in five regattas ending with the MARC Championship on Saturday, April 30 on the Occoquan River in Virginia.