The women’s rowing team practice for a meet on the Lehigh River. The spring season was canceled before the team could have their first meet. (Courtesy of Justin LaFleur)

Women’s rowing stays connected at home in preparation for next season


While Lehigh classes have moved online, and the spring sports season has been canceled, the Lehigh women’s rowing team has not lost track of its goals and team spirit. 

Head coach Brian Conley said the team is participating in Zoom calls to stay in contact with one another. Conley said he feels the team is doing a good job of staying in touch, and the rowers meet weekly as an entire team.

“They are broken up into smaller groups, so they can have more personal contact with each other,” Conley said. “They communicate with these groups every day.”

Conley has also given the women a training routine to follow. He said the plan emphasizes general workouts to stay in shape, rather than rowing.

“Our coach gave us a training plan that mainly focuses on our areas of weaknesses and making sure that we are doing things right, so we don’t get injured,” said junior Reilly Kyle. “We are doing a lot of bodyweight circuits and bodyweight exercises.”

While the rowers are upset about the cancellation of their spring season, they are still feeling motivated, Kyle said.

Senior Allison Connors said the juniors have stepped up and taken big leadership roles. 

With the spring rowing season ending before the team’s first meet, the seniors were robbed of their final rowing season at Lehigh. Connors said she is sad she will no longer be rowing as a Mountain Hawk. 

“Rowing was such a huge personal identity for me and for a lot of the other seniors,” Connors said. “Now that I can’t row anymore, I realize how much I love my sport and how much I will miss being in a boat.” 

The NCAA decided on March 30 that an extra year of eligibility will be granted to all spring sport student-athletes. Even so, many seniors on the team are unsure if they will row at Lehigh another year. 

Besides considering a fifth year, the seniors are also looking for careers, taking care of themselves and focusing on their mental health, Connors said.

Conley said the team is working out a way to honor the seniors and all they’ve done for the team while rowing at Lehigh.

“Everyone is disappointed, but the seniors are the most devastated of them all,” Conley said. “This was a great group of seniors we had this year. They saw so much growth within the program during their four years.”

Kyle said the team has put in a lot of work this past year and was excited to compete at the Patriot League Championships. She thought they would have had a chance at a podium finish. 

While that goal will have to wait a year, the team is already focusing their training efforts on winning a Patriot League Championship next season. The Mountain Hawks will be working on keeping their momentum and training through the summer, Kyle said. 

Kyle said the team is continuing to work hard and dedicating their efforts to the seniors. 

“We really care about them, and we understand the commitment that they had for this team,” Kyle said. “We want to show up for them.”

Even though the seniors may no longer be rowing at Lehigh, Connors said they feel supported through this emotional time.

“No matter what happens, the women that I rowed with will always be my teammates and close friends,” Connors said. “They are such great women.”

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