By Gabriella DePinho, Staff Writer
For the Manhattan College Women’s Rowing Team, after undergoing a change in staff and now working with head coach Alex Canale, this is the season that the team is beginning to make incredible progress.
In 2015, Manhattan College changed the status of the women’s rowing team from a club team to to an intercollegiate Division I athletic team. Manhattan College phased out women’s tennis in favor of the rowing team.
Senior Maggie Tebbetts has been part of the rowing team since her freshman year, and was part of the transition from club to intercollegiate team. She has also been through all of the staff changes.
“It was a slow transition at first. It definitely did change the practices, the gear, etc. and even how we’re treated at the school.” Tebbetts said.
The team’s previous head coach quit at the end of this summer, so while the college worked to find a new coach, the start of the season was delayed.
The college eventually hired Coach Alex Canale to take over the team. Despite the delay in the start of the season, the team has already made huge improvements under his leadership.
Coach Canale has worked with high school teams along with club teams, and was familiar with the Manhattan College women’s program due to the fact that they practiced at the same place he coached out of. When the opportunity to coach for the MC team arose, he made himself available for the position.
“I think it’s really important to further interest in the sport of rowing and it would have been a real tragedy to see those girls miss out on a season so I took the job,” said Canale, “I’m really excited about it and about the future of the program.”
Though the season has just begun under Canale’s, it is evident that the new coach and the team compliment each other very well. Canale identifies the girls individual energies and dedication to learning the sport as a key component of the team’s great dynamic.
Sophomore Elizabeth McCabe rowed in high school, and came to MC to join the rowing team. During her time on the team, she has noticed the increased and intense competition, but she also noticed that under Canale, the team has improved greatly as a whole.
“Just by week one at the end of the week we were all sitting there talking like ‘we’ve gotten better, we’ve fixed technique, we’ve gotten faster.’ Every day at practice improvements are made and we are becoming closer, stronger and faster with each practice.” McCabe said.
The team has taken part in two races so far this season, and has more upcoming races to compete in. In the two races, the team placed well, and considers where they placed to be a springboard for further improvements and future success.
Looking into the future, the team has big goals they plan to work towards. Tebbetts hopes to see her team earn medals, Coach Canale hopes to see the team place in the top 50 percent of all teams at their upcoming races, and McCabe hopes to see her team compete well at MAAC.
“Long term, by my senior year, I would love to make it to NCAA’s. It’s not impossible. With the attitude and the hard work everyone puts in, it’s totally achievable,” said McCabe.