WPI women’s varsity 8 rowers shine again with Shrewsbury’s Caitlin Keane
Caitlin Kean followed her older sisters, Erin and Meganea keen swimmer and specialized in the 500m freestyle at Shrewsbury High.
However, she was also interested in finding her “own” sport, so when Kean was in eighth grade, her father enrolled her in WPI’s summer rowing camp.
“Being the youngest sibling, you want to try something new,” Kean, now a WPI senior, said during an interview Tuesday morning at his favorite spot on campus, the Donahue Rowing Hall, the Reservoir. indoor rowing from WPI. “I fell in love with it.”
After playing swimming and rowing at Shrewsbury, Kean secured the No. 2 seat in WPI’s varsity boat 8 his first year and helped the engineers to a historic season as they reached the first national ranking No. 1 in the program and won a silver medal at the NCAA Division 3 Championships.
“She had an immediate impact,” said the WPI coach Jason Steel, a former St. John’s High rower who grew up in Hudson and is in his 23rd season with the Engineers. “I think every 8 colleges we’ve had since I’ve been here have had a freshman, but not a freshman (like Kean) who’s been there since the first day of the year and then saw the culmination of that as an NCAA finalist.
Kean, a team captain, has moved from the No. 2 seat to the No. 5 seat this year, and WPI, the No. 3-ranked team in the nation, is in the midst of another stellar season.
With the exception of losing an innings to Wesleyan in the ’06 Jennifer McLaughlin Cup on Quinsigamond Lake (Engineers won the Grand Final), WPI’s only other setbacks this spring have been to No. 1 (Wellesley) and the No. 1. 2 team (Bates) in the country. Wellesley defeated WPI last weekend to win the NEWMAC Championship.
WPI is competing in the New England Championships on Saturday at Lake Quinsigamond and hopes to earn an overall NCAA bid next month.
“It’s been a great year,” Steele said.
Since Kean took his place in University 8, the boat has won 92% of his races.
“She’s always looking to get better and stronger,” Steele said, “and the program has benefited from that. She’s a strong-willed young woman, and for me, that strength of will has two tangible benefits. daily, to show up and get the job done, mile after mile, hour after hour, day after day and on race day she is locked in and focused.
Kean, a mechanical engineering student, estimated that she spends about three hours a day in the tank during the offseason, and in season she likes to have an extra hour a day outside of practice. On Tuesday, she stopped by the reservoir to do a few shots between classes.
“It’s the perfect relaxation,” she says.
As with swimming, Kean loves the endurance aspect of rowing.
“It’s about the will and the courage of it all,” she said. “It’s not the talent; it’s how hard you’re willing to work to get there. It’s the ultimate team sport.
Kean, who will pursue her master’s degree next year at WPI and row, is looking forward to this weekend’s New England and is in the familiar surroundings of Lake Quinsigamond, where she also rowed in high school.
“I consider myself the mayor of The Lake,” Kean said with a laugh. “I know the ins and outs of anything that goes on in that boathouse or on the lake. It will be great fun. (This year’s boat) is very similar to the one we had in year one. Everyone is tight-knit, we love the sport and we’re ready to work hard to see results.
Jones resumes swimming from HC
The late and legendary Gardner High swim coach Don Lemieux inspired one of his former athletes, Kristy (Martin) Joneswho was a key member of four state champion teams, to become a coach as well, but his impact on Jones, like many of his former swimmers, extended far beyond his career choice.
“He’s been such a big influence in every aspect of my life for so long,” Jones, the new coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams at Holy Cross, said Tuesday afternoon.
Jones, who has spent the past six years coaching the swimming and diving teams at Babson, replaces Jeff Barlockwho left his position as HC at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Prior to Babson, Jones spent two years (2014-16) as an assistant at WPI and was on Brown’s staff from 2007 to 2013.
“Holy Cross, with its academics and athletics, is a very prestigious school,” Jones said, “so I think my experience working at Brown, Babson and WPI, all of whom have excellent academic backgrounds, is a fit. perfect. I like to seek out that all-around student-athlete, and I think that’s what Holy Cross attracts. (HC’s) sense of community, especially in athletics, was evident when I met them, so I I’m really happy to be part of this community.
Jones and her husband, Davidare residents of Worcester.
“I feel like Holy Cross is part of the house,” she said.
Jones swam in youth meets at the Hart Center pool.
After graduating from Gardner, Jones was an honorable mention All-American at Indiana University and an Olympic Trials qualifier.
Lemieux, who coached Gardner High swimming to 16 state championships, including 15 in a row from 1994 to 2008, died suddenly in January at the age of 65.
“Last summer,” Jones said, “I used to call him when I needed personal advice or coaching advice. I think of him when I’m coaching and when I’m thinking about what I need to do to be a better coach. I think about things I liked about him, his style of coaching and who he was as a person.
In 2017-18, Jones, who helped Indiana to the 2003 Big Ten Championship, guided Babson’s men’s team to their most dual meet wins (10) in 15 years, while the women set a program record for dual competition wins (10) in 2019-20.
“Kristy Jones is the perfect candidate to help lead Crusader swimming and diving to new heights,” said the Holy Cross athletic director. Kit Hughes mentioned. “Her significant experience as a head coach, former student-athlete, and former NCAA and Olympic Trials qualifier has positioned her well to help lead and mentor our student-athletes, and I am thrilled to welcome Kristy and her husband David in the Holy Cross community.”
Head of class
• Worcester State Junior Rachel Sinclair of Westminster batted .438, drove in five runs and had a .688 hitting percentage to lead the Lancers to a 4-1 week.
• Freshman from Worcester State Emma Lanpher of Charlton hit .421 to help the Lancers to a 4-1 week. In a double sweep of the Mass. Maritime, Lanpher was 4 for 5.
• Holy Cross senior pitcher Kelly Nelson went 2-1 with a 0.62 ERA and 0.165 opposing batting average. She struck out 26 in 22⅔ innings.
• Anna Maria second right-hander Anthony Pingeton of Charlton went 2-0 and did not allow an earned run in 10 innings. He struck out 14 in games against Gordon and Lasell.
• Nichols senior DJ Caron hit .476, hit three home runs, and drove in nine runs.
• Freshman of Nichols Drew Stanton of Westborough shot a two-day total of 162 at the Farmington State Invitational to help Bison’s golf team finish sixth.
• WPI Graduate Student Skylar Barthelmes won discus and shot put at the George Davis Invitational hosted by UMass-Lowell. She broke her own school hammer record and her throw of 173.89 feet was good for second place.
—Contact Jennifer Toland at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JenTolandTG.