WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - The Williams women's crew team ended its spring season with an incredibly strong showing at the NCAA Championships in West Windsor, New Jersey. The first boat outraced Bates—the top-seeded team in the tournament—to earn the title of the Fastest Crew in DIII. The team placed second overall after being edged out by Bates' one-point lead in the combined V1 and V2 boat scores.
Coming off of that finish—the strongest since 2013—and a summer of hard work, the Ephs endeavored to hit the ground running this fall season. The team went through some changes in coaching staff over the summer as head coach Kate Maloney took time for maternity leave. Meg Conan, previously assistant coach, is taking charge of the crews for the fall season as interim head coach. Meg Conan is in her eighth year of coaching at Williams, and has high aspirations for the team. "With that," she says, "comes the expectation of bringing focus and awareness to our daily moments - doing the very best we can with what we control today. Those daily actions compounded over time will help us create the opportunity to compete for our aspirations at the end of year." Senior captain Clara Beery echoes the positive sentiments of the team with her comments on the coaching transition: "With Meg at the helm this fall, I could not be more confident that we are steering straight. It's been really fun to watch her show off her skills to a larger portion of the team, but it's her obvious dedication to the speed of our whole squad that impresses me the most."
Carolyn Miles has filled coach Conan's role as assistant coach and taken on the task of training the boat of freshmen walk-ons this season. Amidst all of the change, the team returned to Onota Lake on September 9th to find it as beautiful as ever. On-the-water practices began after completing an all-team fitness test composed of a 6k ergometer piece and 1.5 mile run. Some impressive showings by returners and new additions to the squad had the team excited for the first month of training. Senior captain Bertie Miller is amped about progress thus far: "This season has had a really promising start! Our training has been impelled by a very successful spring, but we're also tapping into a totally fresh energy. Every stroke counts, and this fall has been full of really important and hard earned strokes." Fall training has consisted of work on and off the water. One huge advantage the women's team has this fall is a surplus of coxswains, enabling the rowers to break down into smaller boats and focus on technical skills while still logging high meterage on the water.
The captains mentioned above, Clara Beery and Bertie Miller, have brought new levels of organization and excitement to the team this year while leading a cohesive senior class. The supportive senior leadership balances the loss of eight graduated athletes and four juniors who are abroad for the fall. The remaining squad will take on some new racing opportunities that have been added to the fall schedule this year. "I believe in our energy and enthusiasm, and am looking forward to the challenges that come with continuing to build momentum," states coach Conan as the team heads into the fall racing season.
This weekend, two Williams College 8+ boats and a 4+ boat will scrimmage against Wellesley in Wellesley, Massachusetts.