Women’s team places seventh at Navy Day Regatta as crew starts fall season


The women’s and men’s crew teams placed seventh and 16th, respectively, at their opening regatta this past weekend. (Photo courtesy of @lafcrew on Instagram)

Last Sunday, the crew team kicked off their fall racing season at the Navy Day Regatta on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, competing in the collegiate fours. 

A highlight of the weekend was when the varsity women’s four placed seventh out of 32 boats.

“This was a really competitive regatta. We expected 15th  or something, so we’re really happy with how it went,” sophomore Noni Lorentzen said. “We had a lot more in us at the end, so we’re hoping we can do better in the future.”

This leading boat for Lafayette consisted of Lorentzen, seniors Lauren Salbinski and Abby Hammel, sophomore Ellie Walsh and freshman Ryan Comisky as coxswain.

“The women’s team did phenomenal this weekend … beating several division 1 crews. Our women’s team historically places very well, winning several gold medals at our season ending regatta last season,” sophomore Aaron Sigmond-Warner wrote in an email.

Sigmond-Warner explained that over the past month, the team has been transitioning back into practicing full-time. This includes a process called “seat racing” in which they swap out different rowers on the water to see which combination makes for the fastest boat. He said that all crews will typically practice at least once a day for six days a week.

“Rowing is all about maximizing time on the water in order to feel cohesive as a boat, so we prioritize getting on the water for as long as we can during practice each day and being as efficient as possible,” Sigmond-Warner wrote.

The men’s team finished in 16th of 27 boats this weekend, which Sigmond-Warner said they were relatively satisfied with considering the level of competition. The leading men’s boat consisted of Sigmond-Warner, sophomore Nathaniel Schulz, senior Henry Grote, junior Ben Arky and coxswain junior Kendall Lamm.

“During rigging and de-rigging, Lamm was really prominent,” Lorentzen said. “Without her, we would not have been as organized, and would not have gotten there and back on time.”

Sigmond-Warner wrote that the team was able to send multiple freshmen to this race, which they do not usually do this early in the season. He also explained that the team sent a sculling-style boat for the first time, meaning each rower had two oars. Normally, they only send boats that use sweep rowing, in which each rower has only one oar.

The competition last weekend was the first under new leadership. While Rick Kelleher remains head coach, the previous assistant coach, Derek Richmond, took a job coaching the Lehigh men’s crew team. Lauren Leonatas ‘22 and Aimee Meissner joined as assistant coaches.

“Although it is always sad to see a coach leave our team, we are very excited to welcome our two new assistant coaches,” Sigmond-Warner wrote. “They have been doing very well coaching our freshmen/novice team, and we are all very happy with their performance. The novice team is looking very promising.”

Next up for the crew team will be the famous Head of the Charles Regatta this weekend in Boston.

The team is able to compete at the Charles this season because it received a bid to come back based on their successful performance at this regatta last year; the women’s team finished 5th and the men came in 15th place. Lorentzen said that the team has been doing doubles practices once a week to prepare for this regatta.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to row at the Head of the Charles. It was a very stressful process to select the crew who will row, as we are only able to send four male and female rowers to the regatta,” Sigmond-Warner wrote. “Our men’s and women’s boats have been putting in lots of extra work and practice to prepare for this race, and we are eager to go to Boston to represent Lafayette.”