Crew team welcomes Row New York to campus, creating special bond with fellow student-athletes

Club+crew+welcomed+over+40+recruits+to+campus+from+Row+New+York%2C+a+nonprofit+organization+which+provides+rowing+access+and+strong+academics+to+underprivileged+students.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Derek+Richmond%29

Club crew welcomed over 40 recruits to campus from Row New York, a nonprofit organization which provides rowing access and strong academics to underprivileged students. (Photo courtesy of Derek Richmond)

Andrew Hollander

This past Tuesday, the Lafayette club crew team welcomed over 40 prospective student athletes from Row New York, a nonprofit organization that provides athletic training and academic support to high school students.

The visiting students, mainly juniors and seniors, met with team members and the coaching staff at the boathouse and went on a campus tour, according to Derek Richmond, assistant coach and director of recruiting. The day was an opportunity for current rowers to share advice and experiences with the younger student-athletes, and for the Row New York group to gain valuable insight about rowing at Lafayette.

Row New York’s trip consisted of the boathouse visit and campus tour led by senior crew team secretary Lillian Kennedy, who spent significant time with the recruits. She described the connections made and excitement of the students as highlights of their time together.

“It was great getting to show the students around campus; they were very excited to see the college, and it’s always fun when you’re able to relate to them about rowing as well,” said Kennedy. “One girl, while I was talking about study abroad opportunities, turned to her friend and said ‘You know what this place looks like? My college,’ because she had fallen in love with Lafayette, even in the pouring rain, which is always exciting to hear.”

The physical and mental toll of rowing, combined with the rigorous academics at Lafayette require student-athletes to learn values that are also essential in life, explained Richmond, describing how Row New York “shares and embodies a similar philosophy [as Lafayette rowing].” It is these shared characteristics that might allow rowers to form a deep bond despite not being part of the same team. Richmond said he believes that those who are successful rowers carry similar characteristics into the classroom to help them become equally capable students.

“The physical demands of rowing require dedication, commitment, and perseverance,” Richmond said. “Rather than being mutually exclusive, they complement each other, and an athlete who succeeds on the water will often be very successful in classes and in life.”

Kennedy, too, mentioned how the team uses the adversity to bond with one another. Long practices, early mornings, and hard competitions are all part of the experience, and having the appropriate support from the team and coaching staff is crucial for individuals’ success.

“The team is what truly brings the sport together,” said Kennedy. “We’re all so passionate about [crew], even though most people think we’re insane for doing it.”

This mutual passion makes events like this all the more exciting for the current athletes. The ability to help younger rowers experience a similar desire for learning and competing on the water is an opportunity the team takes seriously, according to Kennedy. In addition, the support among the rowing community is special and unique.

“My teammates and I push each other to achieve more athletically and academically,” Kennedy said. “Seeing that [the students from Row New York] have the opportunity to fall in love with [rowing] in high school is really exciting.”

“It feels great knowing that I can help the next generation of rowers develop that same love for the sport and participate in college,” she added.