Women’s Crew Rows into DIII

By Neil Kavanaugh

Alumni rowing event at Bladensburg Park
Courtesy of Catholic University

The women’s crew team made a surprising development this year. After years of hard work, it has finally made the jump from a Catholic University club sport to a competitive Division III  team. This makes the girls the first recognized NCAA DIII rowing team for our very own Cardinals. The women’s new conference will be the Mid-Atlantic Rowing conference, or MARC, and it consists of the following schools: Adrian, Bryn Mawr, Cabrini, Franklin & Marshall, Johnson & Wales, North Park, Ohio Wesleyan, St. Mary’s (MD.), Stockton, Marietta, and Washington college.  

There has also been a recent coaching change to someone who is more capable of handling the competition of   Division III. Coach Katie O’Driscoll is the new head coach and the assistant coach is Gavin Kelley.

Assistant coach Gavin Kelley will also be the head coach of the novice team, which is made up of freshmen and newcomers. The novice fleet consists of three boats and eight people per boat for a total of around twenty-four new members to the team. There is little experience needed to make this novice team, which may have lead to such a large turnout. The captains have shown excellent leadership in supporting these new recruits in their training. The new coaches have been well received, supportive, and hold true to team values.

Senior Meghan Walsh is very excited in the change in pace.

“They have all rowed for the majority of their life and … make us a better team. I am extremely excited for this upcoming season. I think we will do great things this year and in years to come. We are all excited … under the instruction of our amazing coaches,” says Walsh.

Junior marketing major Marielle Picinich is most excited about the new workout facility that Catholic University athletic staff have granted them. “We have a new room with brand new rowing machines in the DuFour Center, and it even has a mural of the Anacostia River, which we practice on.”

When asked about the difficulty in the shift from club to Division III, Walsh had this to say: “I am handling the adjustment from club to varsity well because the time commitment isn’t much different than what I am use to, but the organization makes it so much easier. The workload is quite different mostly because the degree of intensity of our workouts has gone up and is much more organized. I would not say they have different tactics or approaches but just that they all genuinely love the sport and know how to lead a new, growing program.”.

The newly christened Division III Catholic University Crew Team has been granted new boats. The women’s first of two meets will be on October 14th at the Head of the Occoquan in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

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