Champion Crew

Women’s team rows to title in intercollegiate championships

By Magazine Staff  |  Photos courtesy of Loyola Athletics

Growing up in Philadelphia, Daisy Carter, ’10, loved riding her bicycle along Boathouse Row. She and her father would watch crews pull oars through the water as their boats skimmed down the Schuylkill River.

When Carter arrived at Loyola and saw a sign advertising the crew team, she had no experience, but couldn’t wait to join. Four years later, she and four teammates—Elizabeth Staub, ’10; Catriona Miller, ’12; Kimberly Winiarczyk, ’12; and coxswain Katherine Griffin, ’12—rode Loyola’s women’s lightweight four boat down New Jersey’s Cooper River to take the grand final title in the 2010 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships. The Greyhounds beat second-place Wisconsin by more than three seconds.

“It was clear that Wisconsin had a very aggressive race plan. Our race plan was to be in the medals by the 800-meter mark, and then to go for the gold,” said Albert Ramirez, head coach of men’s and women’s rowing. “They followed the race-plan to the ‘T.’ We were maintaining a longer, more relaxed rhythm. It’s a very powerful group.”

One of the most successful athletic programs at Loyola this decade, the women’s rowing team has won four MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) championships in the past seven years, finishing second twice, and taking the title for the second consecutive year this year.

The rowers started at Loyola with little to no experience and an interest that grew to a passion for the sport—and for racing. Ramirez, who came to Loyola in 2002, trains his rowers to compete against teams of experienced rowers recruited by other Division I schools.

“We literally start from scratch, which is unbelievable,” said Ramirez, who described this season as serendipitous. “We just lucked into having a sophomore class of exceptional athletic intelligence and driven personalities that were able to complement our senior class, and our senior class is extremely talented. They’ve been ready to explode for two years.”

A mathematical sciences major from Syracuse, N.Y., Kelly McDermott, ’10, fell in love with the sport, despite the demanding 6:30 a.m. practices in the Patapsco River’s Middle Branch Basin.

“There are times where you’re just so physically exhausted you’re like, ‘I can’t do it anymore,’ and then you’re like, ‘Oh, I have a regatta!’” said Carter, a Spanish major and biology minor from Malvern, Pa. “I love those head-to-head races when you’re pushing it out and trying to get first. It’s so exciting.”

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