Crew on the rise at St. Mary’s

The St. Mary's crew team had a successful season having two boats qualify for the Mayor's Cup. (Courtesy: Geskus)

LYNN — Crew hasn’t been offered in over 50 years at St. Mary’s, however, that has changed in recent years. 

Last spring, the Spartans were able to race without restrictions after the coronavirus pandemic, and now, they’re making waves.

The St. Mary’s rowing team just came off of an impressive season behind coach Will Goldenheim, who is determined to increase the sport’s popularity. 

“There is some interest from the students,” Goldenheim said. “I put in a lot of effort to market the sport and the team to the kids. I try to look for kids in the halls to see if they’re interested.” 

Goldenheim began rowing when he was 12 years old, and is said to have “fallen in love with it” right away. He won a silver medal with the junior national team in 2003 in Athens before rowing at Brown University. Unfortunately for Goldenheim, he injured his back a year and a half into college, forcing him to quit the sport. 

Now, as a coach, Goldenheim wants to turn St. Mary’s into a competitive rowing team, but he knows it’ll take time. 

“At the beginning of last year, I told our head of school Dr. [John] Dolan that I just wanted the kids to keep coming back. That’s my goal,” Goldenheim said. “At the end of last season, I said within the next two or three years, I want to have a roster where we hit 40 kids. I also wanted to have one of our boats qualify for the finals at the Mayor’s Cup.” 

Little did Goldenheim know, he would hit both of those goals within one year. 

“This year, we got to 40 kids and we got to the Mayor’s Cup with two of our boats,” Goldenheim said. “We also won a couple of races this year. We accomplished all of our goals, probably, earlier than I even expected.” 

When asked about individual standouts, Goldenheim said rowing is “the ultimate team sport.”

“Individuals have to play for the team in a lot of sports. In rowing, they have to be perfectly in sync,” Goldenheim said. “It’s better to row poorly together than it is to row well alone.’” 

Despite qualifying for the Mayor’s, it wasn’t Goldenheim’s favorite part of the season.

“To qualify for the finals of the Mayor’s Cup was definitely one of the highlights of the season,” Goldenheim said. “However, the greater success we can have is seeing these kids return next season so the coaches and I know we are growing the program.” 

Growing the sport in Lynn is one of the ultimate challenges facing St. Mary’s, according to Goldenheim.

“This is a sport that, historically, the city of Lynn has not had,” Goldenheim said. “So, how do you convince these kids who grew up running, playing soccer, basketball, football, etc. to try a sport that isn’t normalized to them?”

“We had more kids this year than last year,” Goldenheim said. “Hopefully, we get more each year, but the turnout has been good – especially for being a small school.” 

Goldenheim said the Spartans are losing just two seniors to graduation, and that lots of the team are underclassmen.

“There’s a bit of an uphill battle because you need to develop physically, mentally, and technically,” Goldenheim said. “However, it’s really positive because all the things they work hard on will carry on past this season and into the future.” 

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