Rowing Returns to the Waters

The Fordham rowing team made their long-awaited return to the water in the Head of the Housatonic, marking a return to normalcy following a COVID-19 season and a brand new head coach.


This past weekend, the rowing team was competed in Shelton, Connecticut in their first regata with their new head coach. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Andrew Falduto, Contributing Writer

The Fordham rowing team made their long-awaited return to the water on Saturday, Oct. 9 in the Head of the Housatonic event in Shelton, Conn. The race, held at Indian Well State Park, serves as not much more than an organized scrimmage. However, it is typically an indicator as to where the strengths and weaknesses lie in the team and is essential to setting the tone for the season. Fordham competed against seven other colleges in the Division I Women’s Collegiate V8, none of which came from the Atlantic 10 conference.

Fordham fielded three boats at the regatta. Out of the 25 boats that rowed the course, Fordham’s varsity boat placed 17th with a time of 16:49.8. The premier eight experienced some issues with timing and pace, but they ultimately pulled through with a strong finish. The head varsity boat has a variety of new faces this year, as the class of 2021 saw the departure of some of the team’s top stars. The V2 boat finished not far behind in 19th, with a time of 16:57.0, and the JV boat fell to 23rd in their outing, rowing a time of 17:40.2. 

Ultimately, morale was likely optimistic following the regatta. While performances could have been better, there were plenty of positives in the outing that will hopefully flourish throughout the rest of the season. This race also marked something of a return to normalcy, given how riddled with adversity the 2020-2021 season was with several coaching changes and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The race also served as the first competition under the new head coach, Rebecca Gronsdahl. Gronsdahl previously served as rowing operations manager and director of community rowing for Row New York, an unaffiliated rowing training organization held in high regard across the nation. Before her tenure at Row New York, she held various coaching positions at her alma mater, the University of California Santa Barbara. With the first race of the season proving to be a crucial test, the team hopes for improvement after a troubled past of inconsistent coaching situations.

With the first break of the water behind them, Fordham looks ahead to the Head of the Charles, the first major regatta of the season, in Cambridge, Mass. The race will be held on Oct. 22.