Published 05/02/12

Two new boats for women's crew

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (May 2, 2012) — As a new club sport, the Bryant women's crew team has experienced a number of firsts in the past year — first practice, first race, first spring season. On April 28, the team gathered with other members of the Bryant community for another first: a boat-naming ceremony for two of the team's four boats.

Team benefactor Elizabeth Z. Chace, who with her husband, the late Malcolm G. "Kim" Chace, helped Bryant acquire two eight-person shells, presided over the champagne christening of The Liz Chace and The Kim Chace. The boats, obtained from Yale University, have "good karma," according to the team's first coach, George Schuster, who noted that at Yale, the eights were thrice winners of national regattas.

The rowing Bulldogs launched their first spring racing season March 31 in Shrewsbury, MA, where, competing against Bowdoin, Clark, and UMass Lowell, the Bryant novice +4 and +8 boats placed. "We're doing so much better than anyone could have anticipated," said Coach Mark Labossiere; the team has had at least one first-place win in each of this season's four races.

Initially, resources were spread thin as the fledgling team and coaches spent much of their time finding rowers, facilities, and training equipment. Now, with most of the details under their belt, they can spend more energy focusing on the sport.

"Next year is going to be a pivotal year for the crew team," said Nicola Dechamps '14 (Avon, CT), who took the first steps to create the club sport after receiving President Ronald K. Machtley's enthusiastic endorsement for the idea. She noted that the team - now 18 members strong - will be eligible to row varsity level next year. "The competition is fiercer and the expectations will be higher."