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Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Women’s rowing looks to go on another championship ride

From left, senior Emma Anderson and sophomore Samantha Gallagher will look to perform this season, as head coach Becky Robinson has her eyes set on the NCAA Division III Championship.
Malik Clement
From left, senior Emma Anderson and sophomore Samantha Gallagher will look to perform this season, as head coach Becky Robinson has her eyes set on the NCAA Division III Championship.

The Ithaca College women’s rowing team competed at the Head of the Charles Regatta on October 23, 2023, one of the most prestigious rowing events in the nation that attracts athletes of all ages and skill levels. 

The race marked the team’s only sweep event of the semester, as they compete in sculling regattas during the fall to hone in on technical skills and boat-feel. The Bombers placed 11th out of 35 boats, beating out national powerhouses like Bates College and Wesleyan University.

Head coach Becky Robinson said that although her athletes row in two different styles between the fall and spring semesters, the two complement each other and will better prepare the Bombers for conference and national competition. 

“We had some really good racing results, but the other thing that was really good was how much buy-in there was from the athletes on sculling and the benefit of sculling toward their sweep rowing and the big boat stuff,” Robinson said.

Outside of their six seniors, the Bombers are welcoming back sixth-year rowers Taylor Volmrich and Laura Trainor this spring. Following their dominant performance during the Spring 2023 season — including a fifth-consecutive Liberty League title — Volmrich earned a spot on the Pocock All-American second team.

Senior captain Emma Anderson said Volmrich and Trainor’s return to the team allowed for a strong leadership foundation to be formed and maintained among the numerous upperclassmen  post fall season and over the winter break. During preseason workouts, Anderson said the foundation was solidified.

“I’ve learned a bunch from Laura and Taylor about leadership,” Anderson said. “They definitely taught me how to lead both vocally and by example since I was an underclassman. Now, they’re letting us take the lead, but they’re always there for help when we need it.”

Volmrich will not only be a key piece in the leadership department but will heavily help out in the Bombers performance in the boat. Volmrich secured a gold medal at the New York State Championship in 2023 and has been apart of all five straight Liberty League title teams.

As part of their leadership over the break, Anderson said each senior took turns coming up with a challenge to keep the team active, accountable and progressing. “Some challenges were like, how many hills can you do? How many miles could you run that week? How many meters could you pull on the ERG?” Anderson said. “Each senior was designated a week and came up with a challenge and that was a super fun way to get everyone together and working out.” 

Besides the strong senior class, Robinson said her sophomores have already been making a splash throughout the fall and that she looks forward to the talent and influence they bring in the spring. 

“[The sophomores] are making a really big impact on the team right now in terms of pushing the juniors and seniors to be better,” Robinson said. “They came in hot this year and this fall. They were just on fire and pulling out really good scores and really pushing the upperclassmen.”

Some sophomores that have stood out on the team thus far have been Caroline Hoskins, Anna Capodilupo and Samantha Gallagher, who all competed in the 1V during the fall and  impressed alongside upperclassmen powerhouses like Volmrich and Trainor.

Gallagher said that after working with standout rowers like Volmrich and Trainor during her first year, her class entered the sculling season with a prime example of what leadership should look like and they hope to follow suit with that as their example. 

“We’re really hoping to get better at leading by example this year,” Gallagher said. “I think that we’re really exceptionally motivated and I think that we’re gonna do a great job of it, but we’re also a team where there are so many people that exemplify qualities like dedication, timeliness, friendliness and effort. I think that we had such a great opportunity to learn that our freshman year with a really large, influential
senior class.”

Since graduating powerful six-year rowers Allison Arndt ’23 and Devi De Oliveira ’23, Gallagher said the floor has opened for underclassmen to step into more leadership positions. She said strong performances from younger athletes is
something that will promote longevity to keep the program going strong and consistent for years to come. She said the involvement of many underclassmen will make this year’s
team unique. 

Despite proving its dominance through five consecutive Liberty League titles, the team still sees strong competitors in crews like Skidmore College and William Smith College. Skidmore was the Bombers’ closest competitor at the 2023 Liberty League Championship, finishing nearly eight seconds behind the Bombers.

Robinson said each class’s ability to work with and push one another will be key when it comes to achieving team goals.

“One of the things that stands out with this group is just a real positive energy,” Robinson said. “There’s a lot of collaboration versus competition within the team that I think in rowing — especially when you get into an eight and you’ve got eight rowers and a coxswain —  that collaboration is what can really make a difference.”

Anderson said she is focusing most on not only performing well, but also savoring every moment she spends with her teammates.

“[The seniors have] talked a lot about what we want our legacy to be and we really want to bring home the point that being on this team is like being in a family,” Anderson said. “The love and support we have for each other, the fun we have, we really want to make sure everyone has a safe space with everyone on the team. We want to work hard and end the season with some great wins and some great teammates.”

Anderson will look to be a consistent contributor for the Bombers once again this season after pulling in a first-place finish with the 2V at the Liberty League Championships and New York State Championships last spring. The Bombers will aim to keep the consistency they have maintained in every boat lineup in past years going into the spring.

With the Bombers’ first race day coming up March 30 with the Cayuga Duals, Robinson said her athletes are capable of pulling off impressive numbers throughout the semester as long as they prioritize their health.

“My outright goal, which I think is achievable but certainly by no means a guarantee, is winning NCAAs,” Robinson said. “I think that this team — if we stay injury free, if we train well, if we take care of ourselves outside of practice in terms of recovery, nutrition, hydration, sleep — I certainly think we can be in the game and take a running for it.”

Outside of strong scores, however, Robinson said she wants her athletes to enjoy every moment with the program. Collegiate athletics are a finite experience and one Robinson said she hopes her team can embrace while staying committed to excellence.

“Staying focused on being in the moment, respecting every opponent, giving our best effort every day, improving throughout the season,” Robinson said. “Those are all things that we can be working on every day and if we do them right, then the performance goal will fall into place.”

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About the Contributors
Tess Ferguson
Tess Ferguson, Former Sports Editor
Malik Clement
Malik Clement, Managing Editor
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