Women’s Rowing Team Faces Major Changes in Upcoming Year

Manhattan College’s women’s rowing team to face changes. GOJASPER/COURTESY

By Mack Olmsted, Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor, and Makenzie Swift, Asst. Production Editor

Manhattan College’s women’s rowing team is transitioning from their Division I NCAA status to club status by the end of the academic year. 

Losing D1 status is not the only change the team is going through. They will no longer have their boathouse and equipment and now share their utilities with the men’s rowing team. In addition to sharing equipment and training facilities, the men and women practice together under the same coach. 

While it may seem like these changes are yet another victim of the college’s budget cuts, it surprisingly was not the case for the team. The athletics department has been discussing transitioning the team to club status since last year. This academic year, the team will still have their D1 status. They are still competing, but not at the usual macro level with the NCAA.     

“You want to have a good team to go out,” said the President of Athletics Irma Garcia. “I think every team you give every opportunity to compete at a division one level, the highest level, you want to be able to put your best foot forward. Unfortunately, I think right now they’re getting the same quality as last year, you know, the uniforms, and it’s still getting to compete a certain routine. I just want to make sure the young ladies have the best quality moving forward.”

The intercollegiate status is not the only change that women’s rowing is going through as they now share practice with the men’s team.

“We have a whole new team atmosphere, practicing every day with the [women] and it is so beneficial to be able to get on the water with them and really push each other to be better,” men’s rower, Nicholas Dimassimo said. “That’s what every day of practice is. It’s a fantastic group. I truly believe that we are much stronger together than apart.”

For the women, these aspects of the transition that they are going through are a taste of what the future holds for the team. In addition to sharing practice, the team is under new coaching and shares their practice with the men. This outcome has allowed for the men’s and women’s teams to become more unified. 

“Collectively, we are under the coaching of Mr. Mike Ward coach Ward, a veteran in the rowing game,” Diamassimo said. “So much experience he provides us with so much value through his experience and being an overall fantastic coach. He breaks down the sport of rowing in a holistic way and really just does not skip over the fundamentals that’s what we focus on. will largely benefit from his teaching from his coaching.”

MC rowing alumna Shannon Gleba believes that the women’s team should stay a D1 sport, and shared her thoughts about the transition the college plans for the team.

“There’s a lot of girls who work really hard on that team,” Gleba said. “I mean, we were up at four o’clock in the morning every day and I feel disappointed that women going forward are not going to have that opportunity to compete at the division one level.”

Gleba and the athletics department hope that more interest in the women’s rowing team will grow, as more members will be necessary for competing. 

“I would hope they can rebuild numbers and get people interested again,” Gleba said. “I hope they can regain that Division One status.”