Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College women's rowing team will open the 2019 spring campaign with the most horsepower it has had in recent memory, especially in the top two boats, as the Bantams hit the water against the MIT Lightweights, Bates, and Simmons on Saturday, March 30 in Boston. Trinity followed up a top-four performance at the Head of the Charles in October with impressive erg testing in pre-season, and productive scrimmage racing against Division II power Nova Southeastern in Florida over spring break.Led by Head Coach Heather Barney (3rd Season), the Bantams have a deep roster with three eights and a four with leadership provided by senior co-captains Erin Gannon (Lincoln, R.I.) and Julia Gorka (McLean, Va.).
"Our schedule is extremely tough, as it always is, with races against one of the nation's top-three teams every weekend," said Barney. "This competition will be beneficial for our development in the long run. We expect to compete for a spot in the grand finals during the championship events in May."
Trinity's varsity eight boasts several top returners, including Gorka who returns to the No. 3 seat and Gannon who has worked her way up each year into the bow seat. Senior Molly McGonigle (Atlanta, Ga.), junior Kirsten Thiim (Acton, Mass.), and sophomore Aria Mildon (Vashon, Wash.) are also dependable veterans in the first boat. McGonigle has looked great in pre-season in the No. 7 seat, while Thiim returns for her third season in the stern pair but her first as the stroke, and Mildon is an asset in the No.6 seat. Sophomores Lillian Belletete (Jaffrey, N.H.) and Claire Grigglestone (Groton, Mass.) have each developed steadily as rowers after rowing for the top boat as rookies, while classmate Lucy Hainline (Milton, Mass.) has shown vast physical improvement over the last year. Junior Caitlin Southwick (Medfield, Mass.) and sophomore Courtney Robb (Acton, Mass.) competed for the first boat throughout the 2018 season, and that spirited situation is ongoing.
The Bantam second-varsity eight consists of two seniors, two sophomores, and four first-years, and the young crew has already exceeded expectations early in the spring. Seniors Emily McLeod (Portland, Oregon) and Erin Murphy (Boxford, Mass.) will man the No. 7 seat and the bow, respectively, while providing veteran leadership to the entire group. The third-varsity eight is made up of all novice rowers, and Trinity junior Sarah Thomas (Lincoln, Neb.) has been a steady leader among more young oarswomen in the four. All the young crew will once again benefit from the expertise of Trinity Assistant Coach Bob Brady.
"Florida was a great experience where we really got to know each other," said Barney. "Individually, so many of the rowers have worked very hard toward achieving personal bests, but this group has shown a higher level of togetherness that we will need to achieve our team goals."