2014 Dad Vail Regatta Preview

This weekend seniors at the College are preparing to walk through the Wren Building across campus and receive their diplomas!  However, WMRC rowers will be in Philadelphia, racing at the largest collegiate athletic competition in the world-the Dad Vail Regatta.  Like SIRAs, this historic regatta will be held over two days- Friday and Saturday.  The Tribe is looking to beat out larger and better funded Varsity programs for medals, a feat accomplished multiple times in recent history.  For the complete schedule, please click here.  Race previews by squad are given below.

Novice Women

The Novice Women spent the week after SIRAs seat racing and erg testing.  After some hard practices and a couple of PRs, they began practicing in their Dad Vails line-up.  The practice schedule had to be shuffled around to accommodate 5 crazy final exam schedules, but in the end the squad was able to work things out.  In between their hard work, the Novice Women managed to have some fun at a team wide formal, the end of the season award banquet, and an impromptu water balloon fight with the Varsity Men.  Now that all of their finals are behind them, the Novice Women are looking forward to being able to put all of their focus into racing this weekend.  Their first race will be  heats at 1:13 on Friday afternoon.  There they will face Carnegie Mellon, Maryland, Bowdoin and FIT.  With so many other entries, this boat will have to come in at least second place to advance to semifinals.

Novice Women’s 4+
Coxswain: Amanda Williams
4: Anya Voloshin
3: Ashton Chappel
2: Gabby Negus
1: Catherine Smiley


The Novice Women practing before the Dad Vail Regatta.
The Novice Women practing before the Dad Vail Regatta.

Novice Men

After finishing 7th out of 27 in the open 4+ event at SIRAs, the Novice Men are throwing their hat into the ring for the 8+, an event they had success in at Occoquan Sprints when they made the grand final.  This event is typically more difficult as the larger schools tend to prioritize 8+s over 4+s.  Coached by Mike Bayersdorfer, who is graduating from WM Law this weekend, this crew looks to make some noise.  The race goes off at 3:42 PM on Friday.  WMRC will row out of lane 5 against Lehigh, Binghamton, and perennial Dad Vail powerhouse Michigan.  The Tribe need only beat one crew in order to advance to the semifinal on Saturday.

Novice Men’s 8+:

Cox: Marissa Kleiman

Stroke: Mark Schreiber

7: Ian Wilkinson

6: Marty Baughman

5: Arjun Nandra

4: Brandon Timbrook

3: Jake Hutner

2: Julian Iriarte

Bow: Brendan Sawyer

Varsity Women

In these few short weeks from SIRA the varsity women have worked very hard to find that last extra bit of speed on the water.

In the varsity womens 4, the main goal is to improve on our race from SIRA (where the boat finished 4th overall, 1st among clubs).  Two areas of improvement from that race were the start sequence and the stroke rating.  In order to improve the starts, the WV4+ focused on this sequence every day at practice during as a warm up.  The coaching staff and rowers really dissected each motion, doing their best to make sure that all were perfectly in time and using just the right amount of pressure.  As for the rating, the girls dialed in “the finish” (last part of the stroke where the hands accelerate the oar handle into the body), and making that motion more powerful and assertive than before.  This helped the squad not get “caught” at the finish, and helped curl out a little faster for the next stroke.  Coach Graham hopes to be marching down the course in Philly with a clean start, and striking at a rating of 34 spm.  The first chance the WV4+ has to demonstrate these improvements is at 8:24 AM on Friday.  They will race the College of Charleston, Iona, UConn, High Point, and Oklahoma City.  The top three crews from this heat advance.

In the pair the crew set out to improve the sprint, and race pace.  For this, the two ladies looked at adding in a few more short piece practice days with a focus on keeping the blades off the water.  According to Head Coach Graham, keeping the blades from dragging across the water during the recover has helped this boat grab the water a lot better.  Likewise, their steering has also improved greatly, and the pair is confident that they will be able to dog-legged turn that is in the Dad Vails course. They race at 9:44 AM on Friday and will face Brandeis, Temple, University of Florida, FIT, and Massachusetts.  The pair races are hard to predict as their is a lot of variability in program performance from year to year.  However, the Tribe is still confident they’ll advance with the top 3 crews going on to semifinals.

Both boats have worked very hard this year, and Coach Graham is excited to watch them come down the course!

Women’s Varsity 4+
Cox: Mairin Haley
Stroke: Erin Brown
3: Jessie Viss
2: Jessica Beckett
1: Kate Kalaris
Women’s 2-
Stroke: Christine Laroche
Bow: Camila Fishtahler

Varsity Men

The Light 4 personnel has remained the same all spring season. With that, they have been able to improve with each passing practice. The past few weeks we have really focused on sharpening technique. They were able to review the race from SIRA and see exactly what they needed to work on to make the boat a grand final contender.  The first step is getting through heats where they’ll face familiar foe VCU and powerhouses Michigan and Delaware at 2:31PM.  The top three crews will advance.

The Varsity 4 has seen some major changes since SIRA. With two seniors (Danny Otto and David Barnisin) unable to make the trip to Philadelphia, some of the younger rowers have had to step up to the plate. The Boat is now stroked by senior Chris Stephens. Not to be discouraged by the change in the line up, the crew has been pushing themselves very hard the past few weeks leading up to this major race.  Since the MV4+ is the largest event, only two crews will advance from heats.  William and Mary will need to beat four crews out of Michigan, MSOE, Scranton, Dayton, and the College of New Jersey.  All those morning practices will pay off, as they race early, as well, at 7:30 AM.

Both boats have been making steady progress these past 3 weeks, even with a handful of days indoors due to rain. Coach Jason thinks the squad’s biggest improvement was made at a practice last week. Both boats were really battling each other every stroke they took. We ran multiple pieces up and down the creek working starts and sprints. Every piece came down to the wire, with the margin of victory being only a few feet. This intensity allowed both crews to realize their potential.

Men’s Varsity 4+
Cox: Lauren Piulson
4: Chris Stephens
3: Martin Lui
2: Adam Mullet
1: Logan Ferrell


Men’s Varsity Lightweight 4
Cox: Katie Oberg
4: Bryan Monroe
3: Connor Kee
2: Scott Klein
1: Marshall Irby