Rowing ends fall season at Glen Island


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Iona Rowing recently ran in a half-marathon as part of their training program.

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Sports Editor

 The brief Iona men’s and women’s rowing fall season concluded on Nov. 6 at the Metropolitan Championship Regatta held on Iona’s home turf at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle.  


The Gaels collected two gold medals at the meet, racing against fellow northeastern opponents like Fordham, Fairfield, Manhattan, Sacred Heart and Maritime.  


Senior Jacob Tivnan got the team started by taking first place in the men’s 1x with a time of 8:24. Next, Iona’s quartet, made up of sophomores Zachary Morocho and Hayden Skigenin, and freshmen Ethan Megal and Finn Bolger, was able to grab another gold in the men’s novice 4 event by just beating out Fairfield.  


Other notable performances included the collegiate debut performances of five rowers on the women’s side in the novice 8 race. Freshmen Anna Meehan, Ave Kotliar, Emma Ibbetson, Ciana Quintana, and Kaeli Dean, along with sophomores Gabrielle Bifulco, Abigael Kokiadis, Brianna Paulsen and senior Mary Grace Fernandez notched third place in the team’s last event.  


Iona’s coaching philosophy is centered around putting their athletes in good positions to compete, according to coach John Boyd. He also mentioned how the fall season in general is about providing athletes with confidence in the water and developing them into better rowers.  


Boyd reiterated that collegiate rowing is a spring-championship sport.  


“We want to be fast in April,” Boyd said in an interview. “In the fall, you want to get to the starting line and have that competition, but the main focus is technique, and building strength and fitness.”  


Practice and training were something that the team had an overabundance of throughout the past two seasons due to COVID-19 cancellations, but Boyd was impressed with his team’s focus and discipline, especially that of his novice rowers who had barely gotten to taste actual competition.  


“The practice-to-competition ratio was out of control,” Boyd said. “When you’re a walk-on, doing all that training, and not really sure what it’s all for, I think it stands as a testament to the team. They work out for each other”  


Boyd also pointed to some of his rowers that shined in the fall are primed to be contributors to the program moving forward. Kokiadis and sophomore Thomas Ketsner were among the names as the coach highlighted the power they provide to their boats. He added junior Gwyneth Sauter as another athlete that has been showing promise.  


Iona rowing is aware of the lack of exposure and recruiting pull that the program has in comparison to other rowing clubs in the area, and their recently adopted emphasis on recruiting lightweight rowers seeks to address this while helping move the team into a more competitive position in the northeast.  


This recruiting ideology is focused on low-weight and high-speed from their athletes. Boyd admits that this pursuit is unorthodox to bigger programs that have scholarships and recruitment leverage, but for Iona, this is another way that the staff emphasizes setting their rowers up to succeed despite the lack of attention.