Bryant University has a new sport to offer and that sport is Women’s Rowing. The rowing team rows on Stillwater Reservoir, a.k.a. Stump Pond. But what exactly is rowing and how did all this happen?
Rowing is like Track, only instead of rubber beneath your feet, it is water under the boat. What makes rowing unique is that rowers must coordinate their movements to be the fastest and most synchronized boat out on the water. It is truly a sport that tests endurance and strength, while relying heavily on camaraderie.
In the spring of 2010, then high school senior Nicola Dechamps enrolled at Bryant University with the commitment to Bryant University to start a crew team. With encouragement from President Ron Machtley, who attended the U.S. Naval Academy which has a tremendous rowing program, she thought rowing would be a great addition to Bryant’s athletic offerings.
An extremely generous donation was made by the Chace Family which enabled Bryant to purchase two “eights” from Yale and one “four” from Franklin & Pierce. A Boathouse space was rented to store boats and rowing machines were purchased for the team to train on.
An accomplished master’s rower named George Schuster offered to help train the team as the search for a head coach began. Bryant had all the tools, they just needed the rowers.
During her freshman year, Nicola managed to pull together a group of novice rowers; amongst them were Sarah Dziadzio, Marybeth Wallander, and Amy D’Olympia who became the team’s captains along with Nicola. Coach Shuster worked diligently with the new group of rowers indoors on the rowing machines.
They worked on basic form and body positioning on the new rowing machines and put a training plan in place. Soon after their first workout, the Student Senate recognized The Women’s Rowing Team as an official Bryant Club Sport.
Fall rolled back around and Mark LaBossiere was hired as Head Coach of the Rowing Team. It took four days from when he was hired for Coach Mark to send the team out on the water for 5 a.m. practices. With no dock, every morning the rowers have had to wade in to set the boat into the water. Despite the cold starts to the practices, enthusiasm is high and there is great anticipation for what is to come.
In less than two years’ time The Bryant University Rowing Team will be racing at The Quinsigamond Novice Challenge on October 29, 2011 in Worcester, MA. On November 6, 2011, they will compete in their second regatta, The Merrimack Chase. From there they will enter a winter training season followed by a very exciting spring sprints season.
For more information on how to join or support our team, please contact Head Coach, Mark LaBossiere at email@example.com.
Special thanks to University President Ron Machtley, Athletic Director Bill Smith, Associate Athletic Director John Ruppert, George Schuster, and the Chace Family. Without these individuals, starting this program would have been impossible.