St. Mary’s College of Maryland has not been well-known for its rowing program yet, but first-year head coach Anna Lindgren-Streicher is hoping to change that this season.
The Seahawks men's and women's rowing teams are headed up by Lindgren-Streicher, who took over the program from Daniel Hagelberg after his three years coaching which included the women's team having fourth-place finishes at the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championships in 2017 and 2018.
Lindgren-Streicher is looking to build on Hagelberg’s performance as practice has already gotten underway with early mornings on the chilly Chesapeake Bay. The 2018-19 season of events started in October and resumes today in a home contest with Franklin & Marshall (Pa.).
“The season has gotten off to a good start,” Lindgren-Streicher. “We started our training the first week of February with a lot of conditioning indoors on machines. Currently, we are having spring break, so we are doing a training camp on practice with multiple practices a day and getting a lot of water time and strokes in together.
She added: "We came back the first weekend of February and got back to it. On the men’s and women’s side it's only our third year as a varsity sport, so we are still trying to build the squad size. It’s up from last year. We are fit, but continuing on that path of improving athletes on the team and bringing in new athletes.”
Lindgren-Streicher came from a Division II assistant coaching position with Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She was a competitive rower at Tufts University in Massachusetts and held her first rowing job there as an assistant rowing coach.
“There are separate teams for men’s and women’s at St. Mary's,” Lindgren-Streicher said. “We are allowed to have 19 total weeks of official coached practices. In the spring we have 12 weeks of coached practice. In the fall, it was the athletes getting to know each other. Building off of that, they trained on their own all winter. And now we all want to get on the same page.”
She is hoping to bring some of her previous rowing and coaching expertise to her team to focus more on fitness and technique.
“We are excited to kick off the season with two home races," said Lindgren-Streicher. "We are hosting Franklin & Marshall on Friday, and hosting Catholic (Washington, D.C.) next weekend, so that will be fun to face them. Catholic is a new team in our conference and just started this year.”
Lindgren-Streicher hopes to push her teams to go as far as they can in the conference qualifier and championship this season.
“Our big race is the conference championship at the end of April, which is the NCAA qualifier too,” she said. “So I’m looking forward to winning that. If the women’s team wins that, they go on to the championship directly.”
The men's team has one local athlete in junior Zachary Smith, a La Plata High School graduate from La Plata. The women's team has one local athlete in junior Angelina Wilson, a Great Mills High School graduate from Great Mills.
“We do have some good first-years on the team, but we’ve also got really good senior leadership on both the men’s and the women’s team," she said. "On the men’s team, Sean Tulley, a captain, is both a very good athlete and a leader on the team. Perry Connor brings a lot of experience to the team and is coming off of injury.”
Senior captain Sarah Connell is excited to get on board with some fresh young talent who are new to the rowing team this season.
"We got a bunch of our first good strokes on water starting this week during spring break,” Connell said. “We try and start it a few weeks before hand and have been on and off the water since February, so the weather consistently has started to be good since last Friday. We are feeling pretty good about it. We are a fairly young team and are building in ways we haven’t been able to before.”
Bringing in fresh talent is something that Lindgren-Streicher is hoping to do next year.
“We’ve gotten a couple of freshmen that were rowers in high school,” Connell said. “A bunch of our varsity members came in fitter than last year, so we are feeling better this year than in past years.
She added: "Since we are such a fresh team, we have a lot of first-years and integrating them into how the boat has already run and making sure that they are making positive changes, and we want them to change us for the better.”
The Seahawks are excited to kick off the season with a home match against Franklin & Marshall.
“We are hosting F&M here this Friday and we are excited,” Connell said. “The two teams are pretty fairly matched in terms of fitness and size.”
Connell is optimistic heading into her final season of competitive rowing.
“I’m hoping to see overall growth over my four years,” she said. “I’m hoping to continue and see the team grow as I get older. We are hoping to make a championship run. But I think just getting there and showing up is important and if we place because of that, that’s great.”