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JASPERS TALK: Amy Sniffen

by ANGELA QUADRINI, Staff Writer

In 2014, sophomore Amy Sniffen joined the rowing team as a fun extracurricular activity.

The Manhattan College rowing team has been around for over 80 years, making it the oldest sport on campus. Today, Sniffen is a coxswain for the team, but the program has changed in a major way. Women’s rowing has transitioned from a club to now a Division 1 team at Manhattan.

The women now face teams from the MAAC such as Iona, Fordham, Marist and Fairfield.

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Amy Sniffen (far right) is one of the team’s coxswains. Patrick Drennan/Courtesy

The Quadrangle: What made you want to join the rowing team back when it wasn’t a D1 sport at Manhattan?

Amy Sniffen: All my life I’ve been a member of a team and always really enjoyed that. Coming to college, being on the rowing team gave me the opportunity to be in a community again. When I started, since the team wasn’t D1, it wasn’t a huge commitment and it was more about having fun and meeting new people.

TQ: How did you find out Manhattan had a rowing team?

AS: I found out about it on the Facebook page for incoming students. A girl posted something about it and said to contact her if you were interested in it, so I did. We messaged back and forth and then I decided I wanted to give it a try.

TQ: How did you prepare to join the rowing team having no prior experience?

AS: I just started working on upper body strengthening and running a lot. I wanted to build muscle figuring I’d be rowing.

TQ: Why did you want to be a coxswain?

AS: After doing research about it, I came across the position and knew I fit the physical description. The coxswains are usually around 5-foot and only weigh about 100 pounds. Seeing as I fit the description, I knew I wouldn’t get much time as a rower but figured I’d be able to contribute a lot as a coxswain. I wanted an active role on the team so I knew it was the best position for me.

TQ: What’s your favorite memory so far?

AS: Going to the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate regatta in the US. It means a lot for our team to go there and compete since Manhattan College was one of eight founding members. We travel to Philadelphia and it’s a fun team bonding experience. Last year, everyone on the team got closer after that trip.

TQ: What’s it like seeing well known teams like Harvard and the Ivy Leagues competing at Dad Vail?

AS: It can be a little discouraging, but we’re working on getting our team to that level. Even if we can’t stack up against those teams, we’re getting better so we’ll be able to compete to that level soon.

TQ: What goals do you have for the rest of the season?

AS: My goal is to keep my rowers focused and motivated so we have the best chance of doing well.

TQ: What’s the best piece of advice from Coach Jim?

AS: Before we start racing, Coach Jim always says, ‘We’re just here to have a good row.’ He wants us to take the races seriously and compete to the best of our ability, but he also wants us to have fun and enjoy the competition and atmosphere.

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