Coaches’ Corner: Kruczynski Speaks Out

On October 11 the men’s and women’s crew teams traveled to Rochester, NY to compete in the Stonehurst Capital Invitational Regatta. Twenty-five teams competed on the women’s side, in which the Colgate Varsity 8 team finished fifth with a time of 34:50.52. The Radcliffe boat finished first with a time of 33:25.95. I was able to speak to women’s crew head coach Greg Kruczynski, who was happy with his team’s performance this weekend and foresees great things to come.

Lyndsay Dinatali (LD): Were you pleased with the outcome of the Stonehurst Capital Regatta?

Greg Kruczynski (GK):Yes, we placed second in the collegiate division to Ithaca College. Ithaca has a strong team, having won the NCAA Division III national championship last year. I think we are every bit as fast as their top boat and I look forward to the [Head of the] Charles [regatta], where they are starting right ahead of us.

LD: Which members of the team do you see making strong impacts?

(GK): I think senior Meg Whittaker has really made some big improvements in her technique over the past couple of weeks and will be a major contributor to the team with her length and power. [Junior] stroke seat Jessie Slenker is also providing an aggressive spark to the first eight.

LD: After competing in two regattas, how does your team compare to its Patriot League competitors?

GK: I think we are going to have a fast eight, and our top eight will be competitive to win the league championship. Right now we need to work on our depth. The Patriot League Championship is a team event with the top two eights and the top four counting for points. We must be strong in all three boats. Our second boat is relatively young and we must concentrate on increasing our level of fitness through the rest of the fall and the winter in order to be competitive in the spring.

LD: What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

GK: I’m using Ithaca College as a judge of our progress this fall. It is a team that we see at every race we have in the fall and it is a team that will not be a factor in our spring racing. I’d like to focus on catching them at the [Head of the] Charles next weekend. If we can do that, we will finish quite well in the standings.

On the men’s side, Colgate entered three teams into the Stonehurst Regatta, with the Varsity 8 having the highest finish, ending up in fourth place out of 22 teams with a time of 30:15.50. Harvard won that race with a time of 29:32.51. The men’s 4 finished 14th with a time of 38:30, almost five seconds behind first-place Brown, and the men’s Lightweight 8 took fifth with a time of 32:48.47, while Yale won with a time of 30:02.20. After speaking with men’s head coach Khaled Sanad, I can sense the excitement in competing this season and the optimism brewing for the spring.

LD: Were you pleased with the outcome of the Stonehurst Capital Regatta?

Khaled Sanad (KS): I was very pleased with our finish at the Stonehurst. While we placed fourth overall, the men’s 8 won the collegiate division, beating some historically strong schools such as Brock and Hobart. More importantly, we were able to beat schools like Syracuse and to place very close to schools like Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown. These schools have strong scholarship programs and have always been way out of reach for schools like Colgate, which rely almost entirely on walk-on talent. What our 8 did yesterday made history. People were very shocked.

LD: After competing in two regattas, how do you feel the team compares to its Patriot League competitors?

KS: After the Stonehurst, I think it is safe to say that we are a stronger squad than we have ever been. Much is made about the Patriot League at Colgate, but since winning national championships last year, we are more concerned with ranking our varsity 8 in the top 20. Besides Navy (who does not compete in the Patriot League in men’s rowing), no other Patriot League school has come close to a top 20 ranking. If we keep up these results, we have a chance to be the first Patriot League school to achieve that.

LD: What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

KS: I expect the men’s varsity to have a very strong fall season. We compete in the Head of the Charles in two weeks. The Charles is one of the world’s most popular regattas, and we will be competing against several national team programs, including the US men, who recently won the gold in Athens. We have earned the right to compete as a “Champ 8” and beating any crew in this event would be an accomplishment. I hope to beat several crews.

LD: At this point, what do you feel is the most important thing your team needs to work on?

KS: We have an interesting crew this year. We have four seniors in the boat (three of whom are national champions), but the rest of the crew is relatively inexperienced, with three sophomores and two first-years. There is a good dynamic in the boat among the oarsmen, and it is important that we keep up this momentum. At this point, the most important thing for us to work on is attitude. We must stay positive, have fun and learn to be champions. If we do this, I can see us making history in the spring. The men and women have no race this weekend, but will be back in the water the following Sunday when both teams compete in the Head of the Charles regatta in Boston.