By: Angelica Niedermeyer, Staff Writer
The crew team travelled outside of NJ for the first time when it competed in the Navy Day Regatta at the Schuykill River in Philadelphia on Oct. 14. The junior varsity quad and varsity double showed perseverance in their competitive races at the prestigious regatta, which was hosted by St. Joseph’s University and included high school, club and even college teams.
The Monarch crew program has grown over the last three years from a small club with a few girls to a full team with 20 devoted athletes, consisting of three quads and one double, and two coaches.
Coach Nicolette Simeone believes the team’s first regatta was great exposure for the up-and-coming team. “The Navy Day Regatta in Philadelphia was the most exciting regatta we competed in. The team participated in, overall, a very difficult event. It was exciting to have the team go through a day’s work of a regatta: derigging boats, traveling, re-rigging boats, competing on a large river with thousands of other competitors of all levels, derigging again, meeting other rowers and cheering one another on,” Simeone said.
Senior captain Gretchen Richardson agrees the regatta was an important and successful experience. “We were thrilled by the crowds and the competition. It was inspiring to be in our first official race, cheered on by dozens of cowbells along the five kilometer course,” Richardson said.
The bond amongst the teammates was the underlying factor that allowed each athlete to persevere through the long and arduous day. “It made me very proud as a coach to see the girls show such support, love and encouragement for one another during that very stressful day,” Simeone said. “The smiles that I witnessed is something I will never forget.”
Simeone also felt the team’s intense preparation before the race contributed to their success at their longest race to date. “The team put in 110 percent of their effort at every practice. Everyone worked together as a whole to develop the skills needed to compete,” she said.
Richardson vividly recalls one of those practices on the Navesink River that became a turning point for the team. “On one of our very first practices, all of our boats were rowing back from the Rumson bridge to the site [Navesink River Rowing facility in Red Bank] when we spotted a gigantic rainbow above us,” Richardson said. “In that moment God’s beauty shone over us and instilled hope within all of us. From that day on, our ambition and desire for improvement became even stronger.”
Since crew competes during both the fall and spring athletic seasons, the team is looking forward to more opportunities to compete in the spring season to continue its progress. “We have really transitioned from a club to a team,” said Richardson.