Haverford College Crew (men’s and women’s) is a club team at Haverford, founded in 1998. The Club sport distinction means that HC crew receives its funding primarily from Students’ Council with support from the Student Activities Office and the Athletic Department. The team works closely with Lily Lavner, Head of Student Activities, Michelle Benoit, our staff “liaison” within the Athletic Department, as well as Wendy Smith, Haverford’s Athletic Director. 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 team competes both fall and spring in regattas in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, and trains during the winter. Unlike most crew programs, however, Haverford Crew practices in the afternoon (due to water traffic and student schedules). 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 anxiously awaiting potential major boathouse upgrades which are on the horizon. 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 our Head Coach, Valeria Gospodinov.
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’s head coach is Valeria Gospodinov, 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 Nation 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 was hired in the summer of 2001.
Since Haverford Crew is a relatively young program, we are still acquiring equipment almost every semester. The team currently owns three 4+: The светкавица (pronounced svet-KA-veet-sa and meaning “lightning” in Bulgarian), a Hudson acquired in the spring ‘06; 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, donated in the spring of 2001; and a 2- (which we often rig as a 2X), informally dubbed the Greg Kannerstein, purchased in the spring of 2003; and a 1X, purchased in the spring of 2011.
The team is always looking for new members, regardless of experience level. Please feel free to contact Haverford Crew anytime at email@example.com. 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.