Potential Crew team at QU

Amy Plourd

Starboard, port and coxswain. These were just some of the terms about 70 Quinnipiac University students learned to use at a nearby boathouse in Shelton, Conn. A new organizational edition to QU, the Crew Club, held its first clinical information sessions on Sept. 7 at the boathouse in Shelton.
There were three sessions for interested students to attend: 6-8 a.m., 8-10 a.m. and 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Each session was conducted by professor Sean Duffy, along with students Stacey Bonanno, Maddie Tepper and Denise Tretola. These three students were the people responsible for the initiation of the club at Quinnipiac and the driving forces in its quest to soon become recognized, respected and supported as a sport at the school.
At each session, students learned the proper nautical terms for the different parts of the boat, as well as the jobs each rower is assigned to. Students were then put into two eight-person boats, where they learned techniques about rowing and how to keep in sync with the other members of the boat.
Although difficult at first, the students eventually worked together to get the boats gliding smoothly across the water by the end of each session.
“Today was used to see who would follow through on the interest they expressed in the club last semester,” said Duffy. “There was no question that the interest, drive and motivation of the students has not only withstood the summer, but it has actually gotten stronger.”
Bonanno said the interest has just been overwhelming.
“We had to set a limit to the number of students that could be allowed to attend the sessions, and we placed the remaining students on a wait list,” said Bonanno.
The success of Sept. 7 sessions has encouraged the club’s initiators to have a morning session on Sept 14. There will be three novice sessions for those students who were placed on the waiting list and two returning sessions that same day. Each student will be notified by email about the sessions on Sept. 14.
In the near future the club’s initiators hope to have more than just weekend practices.
“Ideally we would love to have regular weekday practices,” said Duffy. “But as of right now we neither have the place, boats, coaches or money for conducting such practices.”
“It has been a bumpy road in trying to get the school’s support and approval for this program,” said Bonanno. “And although we have made progress, there’s still a long way to go before we get the full support and approval we are looking for.”
Even though the Crew Club is officially recognized as a club at Quinnipiac, Crew receives no funding from the Student Activities Board. Bonanno explained that the amount they could possibly recieve from the Board is nothing compared to what they would need to pay for boats, coaches and their own boathouse.
“We just want the school to realize that there is an abundance of students who want to be involved” said Tretola.
Duffy said that according to one area coach, a roster of the Crew Club’s size would form one of the biggest Crew teams in this area.
“If we lost 50 percent we would still have enough to fill 12 plus boats,” he said. “I think the interest level is so high because it gives students, who were athletes in high school, but are not involved in the Division I level athletics, an outlet for being athletic in college.”
“I think the overwhelming numbers of students interested in crew makes a nice statement about Quinnipiac’s need for more athletic programs, and club sports in particular,” said Bonanno. “While it is understandable that the school wishes to focus their attention on building their Division I program, there is a whole other population of students who wish to be involved in athletics at a more competitive level than intramurals. These students can no longer be ingnored.”
The group has already expressed an interest in possibly fundraising or asking for sponsors in order to raise money. They hope to begin doing both as soon as the club is recognized as a sport.
As of right now, the group cites the generosity of some members of the area rowing community for their help in holding the sessions and supporting the program.
Being in the early developmental stages, the club must continue to demonstrate that it is a feasible program. The high interest level is one step closer to doing just that.
“I think one area coach put it best when he said, ‘How lucky and yet so unlucky you are,'” said Duffy.
He added that the club plans to keep pushing toward their goal of making Crew a respected and supported sport at Quinnipiac.