By Mary Kate Cashman, Editor-in-Chief
After several challenging seasons marked by bad weather and the lack of a coach and boats, the crew team has gone in a new direction by merging with the crew team at the Ranney School with Eric Timken and Jan Gaszynski as coaches of the combined team.
Athletic Director Ken Santos said he decided to propose a merger with Ranney’s team because it would eliminate the lack of equipment that has caused trouble for the team in past years. “We’ve been trying to get our crew team to the same level as our other sports,” Santos said. “One way we thought we could do that was to merge with Ranney because they have all the equipment and not enough rowers; we have plenty of rowers and no equipment.”
Juniors Kiley Cizin and Anna O’Neill act as captains of the team by facilitating communication between Santos and their teammates. Before the team merged with Ranney, Cizin and O’Neill ran practices in the fitness room and helped their team learn the basics of rowing.
“I didn’t have any prior experience, but my teammates who already had experience with their previous years helped all the freshman and all the people who weren’t experienced,” freshman Dayra Mejia-Reyes said. “They helped us with the technique and everything, and they were really supportive, too.”
Cizin said merging with Ranney is a good opportunity for the team because the rowers are able to practice on the water and compete with Ranney. Still, she said that joining a different school’s team has come with its challenges.
“We had to get to know everybody halfway through the season, so we all got to learn each other’s names, but we started to become one team and all got out on the water together,” Cizin said.
Mejia-Reyes said joining Ranney is beneficial because she and her teammates can meet new people while not having to worry about being unable to practice due to the weather. “I think it not only benefited us in terms of the resources that we now have, but it also helped us to make different connections to their team,” she said.
On May 11, Cizin, sophomore Isabella Giallanza, sophomore Kathleen Lee and O’Neill competed with Ranney in a regatta at the Schuylkill River. Although the boat broke and the team placed last, Cizin called her first Trinity Hall-Ranney regatta experience “exciting” and O’Neill said that the regattas helped them to bond with their new teammates.
At another regatta on May 17, freshman Annaliese Heidelberger, O’Neill and Lee competed in a boat with a Ranney student, where they placed 50th out of 55 teams and improved their time from the first regatta.
O’Neill believes that more time spent with Ranney will help the team to improve further. “We obviously have a lot of room to improve,” she said. “I hope we compete in more regattas because that could be good for building team spirit.”