WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – You would think that having to drive 40 miles round trip to practice each day would be a negative for a team to be competitive on the national level, but it hasn't been for the Williams women's or men's crew teams just yet.
Ask rookie head women's coach Kate Maloney about whether or not it is a negative to be so far from the boathouse and you'll get a one-word answer, "Nope."
'It is what it is' when it comes to Williams crew. You go to school in Williamstown, Mass. and you train and sometimes compete in Pittsfield, Mass.
Maloney previously coached at Northeastern, Yale, and with the U.S. Women's Junior National Team before taking the reins of an Eph program that has won a record six straight NCAA Division III titles and seven overall.
Williams won the first NCAA Division III rowing title in 2002 and the Ephs have won all but three of the 10 awarded with Ithaca winning two and Colby the other.
Maloney is quick to credit her assistant coach Meg Conan '09 for the success of the team. "Meg is the backbone of this program," states Maloney. "She has insight into the traditions and expectations that have helped me transition smoothly into my role as a head coach here. Whether she is coaching the freshmen, doing office work, or setting buoys on the course, she does so with a love for Williams Women's Crew that is unparalleled."
Conan walked onto the Williams team as a freshman and when she graduated she was a member of the first team to win four NCAA titles in a row in Division III. She ended her rowing career at the 5-seat in the Varsity 1 boat and was elected Outstanding Senior Oarswoman by her teammates.
Well, if training so far from campus is not a negative in competing and defending the NCAA title, surely it must be difficult for the team to prepare to compete during final exams, right? Well, not exactly. "These guys made a decision to use our training time as a respite from the study table," notes Maloney. "To use it as an opportunity to clear their heads, focus on the pursuit of boat speed, and generally get pumped up by being around one another."
|2012 Varsity 2 Boat|
The NCAA Division III championship team is determined by the success of a program's Varsity 1 and Varsity 2 boats, with the results of the two boats being combined for a total team score.
The Ephs will be out to establish on the national scene that they have the fastest Varsity 1 and Varsity 2 boats and secure a seventh consecutive title.
In their last seven competitions Maloney's Varsity 1 and Varsity 2 boats have won all seven race, while the Varsity 3 has as well and the novice boat has won its last six competitions.
According to Maloney the strength of the 2012 Eph team is that, "They made the decision to train hard, respect one another, and invest wholeheartedly in the experience of being a student athlete at Williams College."
"As with any team, there are athletes who are physically gifted or technically better, but what makes this team special is that from the rowers sitting in the first boat to the ones who are staying home; the passion they have for team speed and the respect that they have for one another is evident every day to each other and to the coaches," adds Maloney.
The key for success at the NCAA Championships for Maloney is that her Ephs need to keep, "doing what we do everyday, doing it well, and having respect for the competition that is out there."
The NCAA Division III Rowing Championship for Women will begin on Friday at 8:00 with the first of two heats for the Varsity 1 boats, followed by two heats for the Varsity 2 boats.
Shortly after noon on Saturday when the grand final for the Varsity 1 boat concludes the Ephs will know if they will be bringing home another NCAA title and a first under the tutelage of Kate Maloney.