Never Row?

January 13, 2006

Never Row! Truth be told, this expression was actually never uttered by rowing gentlemen of Georgetown to would-be oarswomen when the College was fully integrated in 1969. Rather, this unofficial motto of the Georgetown University Rowing Association (GURA) was bestowed upon Hoya rowers by Hall of Fame crew coach Don Cadle who brought the phrase over from his rowing club at Oxford. The expression is actually a reverse exhortation or warning -- to those who would row -- not to start unless they were truly serious and prepared to make a commitment.

Just over 50 years ago, Kathy White N'55 was the first woman to earn a varsity letter "G" at Georgetown. She lettered, in fact, by racing in a boat at the time - as a Hoya sailor. Three years after her graduation, intercollegiate rowing -- the original boating sport of the Blue & Gray and the progenitor of those very school colors -- permanently returned to the banks of the Potomac. However, no women would pull an oar for another 18 years.

This academic year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of women's rowing on the Hilltop. You can read about the founding of the women's program at this alumni website and about the history of the women's lightweight team at this link.

Throughout this academic year, Georgetown and its rowing community are commemorating three decades of women's crew. Coming up next month is a very special occasion in this ongoing celebration: the February 4 induction of Kelley Jones `88 into Georgetown's Athletic Hall of Fame. Kelley and her teammates claimed Georgetown's second-ever gold medal at the small college national rowing championships. Later, Kelley went on to become a member of the U.S. national team and an Olympian. For further information about this don't-miss event honoring Kelly and her fellow inductees, contact Hannah Besanceney of Hoyas Unlimited at 202.687.7159.

Thirtieth anniversary photos from the initial alumni gathering last September appear below. Special kudos to crew alum Carolyne Dilgard-Clark '99 for her leadership role in the 30th anniversary year-long celebration and thanks to former rower Sally Martindale '98 for pulling together the words and pictures that follow.

On September 24, 2005 the women's alumni gathered to race at the annual Head of the Potomac regatta to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Women's Crew Program at Georgetown University.

Michelle Faurot

The day started off with the Master Women's four comprised of coxswain Jenny Foy '85, Maureen Kseniak '83, Andi Pennisi Stephenson '78, Michelle Faurot '82 and Kim Snedden '87 who showed off their speed and talent with a fourth place finish in time of 21:29.9. Rowing for the first time together that day, they certainly proved themselves against the likes of other crews who had trained for the event.

Jenny Foy

Marianne Oliva

Colleen Corcoran and Liz Picanso White

Second-place alumni eight


Then the two eights competed in the Women's category for the 3-mile race. The first boat, representing the early to mid-nineties, included, from stroke seat, Erika Kuswa '95, Cathy Simon, 93, Jill Duncan Kasier '93, Olwen Huxley, Colleen Corcoran '97, Marianne Oliva '95, Liz Picanso White '97, and Christine DeLalio Shiffer '94. With an amazing second place finishing time of 18:29.6, they were just 21 seconds behind Navy Women's Crew.

Kara Ethier, Melissa Conradi Davenport, and Stephanie Kinzel

The second eight brought together younger alumni with Ashlee Brannen '02 stroking followed by Kirsten Catanzano '98, Jess Maley '03, Carolyne Dilgard-Clark '99, Kara Ethier '03, Melissa (Conradi) Davenport '99, Stephanie Kinzel '03 and Kearney Posner '99. They finished fourth with a time of 18:45.1.

Carolyne Dilgard-Clark


Just as impressive as the number of women who rowed were the alumnae supporting them from the side lines. The cheerleaders included Caitlin Huntley '03, Tara Gavin '01, Julie Merritt '00, Amanda Carson '00, Allison Benedetti '00, Amy (Wood) Omand '99, Eleanor (Gailey) Rathbone '99, Kristen Nienhaus '98, Sally Martindale '98, Sarah (Johnson) Brown `97, Laura (Hoyt) Pasch '96, Vanessa Chipman Flory '95 , Liz Stucke '88, Nancy Bolan '87, JoAnn Grainger `80, Jennifer MacDonald '78 and of course the respective families and friends of those who gathered for the affair.

Coach Tony Johnson

Vanessa Chipman Flory and 9-week old daughter Claire

Eleanor Gailey Rathbone and Amy Woods Omand

Kirsten Catanzano and Poppa Joe

After checking each others' new found blisters (a loving reminder that oars are our friends), the group meandered to Chadwicks to unwind and converse over nachos and drinks (this time no broken tables to speak of). Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, the afternoon brought together what is best about rowing for Georgetown - the family one joins. The women's open weight coach Jimmy King and lightweight coach Jim O'Connor joined the group, along with head coach Tony Johnson.

It was a remarkable day to celebrate a remarkable program. The Georgetown Women's Crew today is built upon the strong foundation laid by thirty years of women's rowing, from the women who started the program, and then pushed for varsity status, to the women who won Dad Vail and Championship Regattas, to the women who led the program into a new era by rowing at the Eastern Sprints and at the NCAA Championships, to the women who worked to create a lightweight squad, and finally to all the women who continue to love and support this sport.

Kristen Nienhaus, Laura Hoyt Pasch, Sarah Johnson Brown and Sally Martindale

We were reminded that our women's program is made up of a respected, dedicated group of individuals who bring out the best in themselves and each other. As alumnae, we continue to look forward to what the future will bring.

Thank you to all alums for coming and showing your support. We wish to thank Georgetown Crew's coaching staff, Georgetown Rowing Association and Hoyas Unlimited. A special thanks to Carolyne Dilgard-Clark for organizing the event. It is the continued support and dedication of alumnae which makes such events possible.

Never Row,

Sally Martindale '98





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