NORWALK, Conn. – Girls from the Norwalk-based Connecticut Boat Club routinely find their way to some of the nation’s top college rowing programs. This year is no exception, but the path they took is far different from previous years.
Seven girls from the team coached by Liz Trond will continue in college. Six recently committed to colleges. Darien’s Kate Tyrrell to Clemson, Kylie Maier to the University of Pennsylvania and Kate Hickey to Dartmouth have selected their schools. So have Greenwich’s Sarah Mudd to UCLA, Holly Geffs to Yale and Tayla Daniels to Texas. Wilton’s Maggie Roberts is undecided.
Some of the girls have been rowing for less than two years. Others have been competing longer, but with the galaxy of stars at the club over the past two years, competed on backup teams. This fall, all of them blossomed simultaneously, instantly and spectacularly. The college recruiters took notice.
“This group has come a long way from the summer to fall,’’ Trond said. “Even from where they were in September to where they were when we raced in California in November, they showed amazing growth.”
Hickey and Tyrrell were on the CBC Novice 8 that won a gold medal at the Northeast Regional championships in May. Maier won a gold medal on the regional on the Junior Varsity 8+. All of them only began rowing in 2011.
Geffs and Mudd have been with the program longer but took more time to develop. “They have amazing physiques for rowing,’’ Trond said. “It’s easier to build strength and fitness on smaller athletes. Once you do it with taller girls, the sky is the limit in terms of potential. The college coaches see that physique and it’s something they want to build on.”
Daniels, a native of Australia, joined CBC this fall after competing for a team in Greenwich. “She chose Texas because she wanted to experience a totally different part of the country,’’ Trond said. “It’s a fabulous rowing venue.”
The reputation the club has developed over the years has helped girls get into the nation’s elite rowing programs. They also put in the work to reach their academic and rowing goals.
“It’s not more rewarding than past years, it’s just different,’’ Trond said. “It’s nice to know there are a lot of different roads. The common denominator is hard work and good grades. It’s nice to show everybody that you don’t have to start real young. It’s a later blossoming sport.”
The seniors have helped foster a team unity more pronounced than in previous years, she said. She believes that will help the team have another successful spring season and provide inspiration for the underclassmen.
“They’re invested in bring up the underclassmen,’’ Trond said. “This is all about the team for them. We’re looking for big things out of this group in the spring.”