Haverford College Crew (men’s and women’s) is a club team at Haverford, founded in 1998, under the guidance of athletic director Greg Kannerstein. Over the years, Greg provided exceptional support for the team and was responsible for hiring our current head coach, Valeria Gospodinov. Coach Gospodinov is a former member of the Bulgarian national team and assistant coach of the Bulgarian national women’s team. She has earned many medals as a rower, including 4 gold and 3 silver medals in the Bulgarian National Championships, a silver medal in the 1991 Student’s Games in Holland, and gold and bronze medals in the Krilatskoe Regatta in Moscow in 1987 and 1989. Coach Gospodinov is in her 12th year with the team.
Crew’s club sport distinction means that HC crew receives its funding entirely from Students’ Council with logistical support from the Student Activities Office, the Athletic Department. For our major equipment needs we rely on fundraising and generous gifts from individual donors. Additionally, the club designation means that crew is not subject to specific NCAA regulations, but it also necessitates that students do a great deal of organizational work and fundraising. The students work closely with Lilly Lavner, Head of Student Activities, Michelle Benoit, our staff “liaison” within the Athletic Department, as well as Wendy Smith, Haverford’s Athletic Director.
The team competes both fall and spring in regattas in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, and trains during the winter. During the spring and fall seasons, Haverford Crew rows in Conshohocken, PA, a short twenty-minute drive from campus, at the Villanova boathouse, a facility used by Villanova Men’s and Women’s, Malvern Prep’s, and Radnor High School’s rowing programs. We are able to practice in the afternoon because Haverford has no class between 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm. During the winter season, Haverford Crew trains in the Gardner Integrated Athletic Center. The winter lifting program consists of a combination strength and conditioning workout created by coach Val.
Haverford Crew consists of rowers at all levels. Some of our team members rowed throughout high school either with their schools or with local clubs, but roughly half of the team joined with no previous rowing experience. Therefore, the first weeks of the season are typically devoted to teaching the novice rowers the ropes. This combination creates a unique environment where rowers rely on both teammates and coaches for instruction. By the time the first regatta rolls around, we compete against schools with comparable programs (see regatta results).
The team currently owns a 1X, the Endorphin, purchased in the spring of 2011, two 4+: The Mario, a Kaschper 4+, and the recently acquired Little Red, another Kaschper 4+. The team also owns a Dirigo 8+, the H. Alan Hume ’48, donated in the spring of 2001, and a 2002 Vespoli Millennium 8+, Mr. Haverford, in honor of Greg Kannerstein ’63.
The team is always looking for new members, regardless of experience level. Please get in touch with us! Contact Haverford Crew anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a prospective student interested in visiting Haverford, please let us know and a captain or a member of the team will gladly meet with you to discuss crew or answer any questions you may have about the college.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the crew team, you may find the article about the team in the winter 2002 Haverford alumni magazine informative.