By Leela Uppaluri and Ondine Goedhuis
This year, Winsor crew welcomes new coaches Maura Flanagan, Ariana Lee, Victoria Rojo, and Libby Lichter and welcomes back Libby McCann. We interviewed two coaches and two team members to gain insight into the crew team and their plans for this season.
Coach McCann started coaching at Winsor in 2020, and her experience “creatively [bringing] the team together” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic carries over to her work as a coach this season. She continues to encourage an environment where athletes are “happy to work hard for themselves and each other.” Similarly, Head Coach Maura Flanagan started rowing 13 years ago at St. Mary Academy-Bay View and went on to row at Fairfield University. Coach Flanagan says that she is trying to “support fast boats” and “strong fitness” while enforcing a “healthy approach to the sport.” Her focus this season has been on “uniting” everyone as “one team racing for Winsor.” This emphasis on team unity is reflected in how, during practice times, boats are composed of both varsity and novice rowers, creating a connected environment between the athletes. Last year, setting up the coaching launches had been a job for the novices; this season, the job is done every day by a different “launch group.”
When asked about differences between the coaches last year and this year, Sophia Gerogiannis ’23, a varsity rower, observed that “it’s nice that we have launch groups” with no feeling of hierarchy, as everyone feels equally involved. Furthermore, the coxswains are encouraged to participate as much as the rowers in on-land workouts, even completing a 5K erg test alongside the rowers.” Allison Chan ’23, coxswain, comments that this new participation in workouts “allows us to get into the rowers’ shoes and heads more” and she considers the system “a nice change.” In this way, coxswains can better connect and work with the rowers as the team strives to have quality performances.
At Winsor, rowing is first and foremost a team sport, and we are so excited to see how the new coaching team continues to inspire this element of unity among the athletes for the rest of the season.