College rowers come back to coach

Kate+Foley+participated+in+Union+College+crew+for+four+years%2C+and+Holly+Geffs+rowed+with+Connecticut+Boat+Club+her+junior+and+senior+year.%0ACourtesy+of+Kate+Foley+and+Holly+Geffs

Kate Foley participated in Union College crew for four years, and Holly Geffs rowed with Connecticut Boat Club her junior and senior year. Courtesy of Kate Foley and Holly Geffs

Kate Foley participated in Union College crew for four years, and Holly Geffs rowed with Connecticut Boat Club her junior and senior year.  Courtesy of Kate Foley and Holly Geffs
Kate Foley participated in Union College crew for four years, and Holly Geffs rowed with Connecticut Boat Club her junior and senior year.
Courtesy of Kate Foley and Holly Geffs

This fall season, two Sacred Heart graduates are part of the crew coaching lineup. Kate Foley ’09 and Holly Geffs ’13 are assistant coaches, and both are enriching the crew team experience not only with their personal connection to Sacred Heart, but also their commitment to college crew.
 Kate started rowing in the fall of her freshman year at Sacred Heart and has continued rowing through the end of her senior year at Union College. She loved the time she spent at Sacred Heart, especially because of the teachers, coaches, staff, and students.
“There was nothing better than having a loving, nurturing, and warm environment to grow as a person,” Kate said.
After graduating from Sacred Heart, Kate continued with crew in college initially to make her parents happy because they loved watching her race in high school. Kate, however, was soon grateful that she made the decision to stick with crew in college.
“It was my outlet after a tough day in the classroom,” Kate said. “It was also my way to step up and become the leader I wanted the team to know and respect.”
Kate stroked the varsity boat by the end of her first term at Union, and by her junior year she was named captain. The stroke is the first rower in a boat that sets the pace. She graduated from Union this past June, and is now coaching the novice rowers at Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart graduate Kate Foley '09 strokes the Union College varsity eight. Courtesy of Kate Foley
Sacred Heart graduate Kate Foley ’09 strokes the Union College varsity eight.
Courtesy of Kate Foley

The other assistant coach, Holly, graduated from Sacred Heart this past June and is taking a gap year due to an injury. Next fall she will row for Yale University. She attended Sacred Heart for seven years, and especially loved the supportive community and all the friends she made. She has been rowing since eighth grade, and her high school rowing experience involved two years with Sacred Heart’s crew team, and the next two years with Connecticut Boat Club.
“I decided to row in college because I love the sport and never want to stop competing in it,” Holly said.
Ms. Kelly Stone, Director of Athletics, asked Holly to help out with Sacred Heat’s crew team. Initially Holly thought that this arrangement would be just for a few weeks. But, she quickly realized she has a true passion for coaching, and decided to continue coaching the rest of the season.

“I really enjoy being out on the water every day helping girls turn into rowers,” Holly said. “Even though my gap year was forced upon me by my injury, coaching Sacred Heart crew has made it an enjoyable and rewarding experience.”
Kate is also benefiting from coaching crew for the first time. Through this experience, Kate has gained even more respect for all of her coaches from college. She loves sharing her stories and advice with the Sacred Heart rowers.
“It’s so rewarding watching the girls surprise themselves in how much faster and stronger they are becoming after every practice,” Kate said. “Whenever I call a power 11 in a piece they trust me and go for it – its really cool.”

Both Kate and Holly are looking forward to seeing how the rowers do in the upcoming regattas. They believe that with hard work in practice every day, the girls will continue improving and getting faster.
“Our first regatta is coming up and I can’t wait to see how they stack up against the competition. I think they’re going to do great,” Holly said.
Emily Hirshorn, Co-Opinions Editor