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Simmons University Magazine

Just Add Water

Simmons’ crew program turns 40.

Director of Athletics Ali Kantor describes crew as Simmons’ “most successful athletics program.” At the 40th Anniversary Commemorative Gala on campus September 22, she recapped highlights of team and individual achievement.

Photograph: Head Crew Coach Nikolay Kurmakov with co-captains Hannah Dike ’19, left, and Ally Fecteau ’20.

Over the course of four decades, student athletes and their coaches have propelled crew to medals in prestigious regattas and impressive national rankings (as high as seventh place in 2010). And during the 25 years current Head Crew Coach Nikolay Kurmakov has been at Simmons, crew has produced three All-American Rowers (Elisabeth Schwarz ’09, Rebecca Brown ’12 and Audrey Wegrzynowski ’13), and an Olympic hopeful, Wendy Campanella ’96.

“This is such an exciting moment for Simmons’ crew—a milestone to be remembered, cherished and captured,” Director of Athletics Ali Kantor said at the gala.

This year’s co-captains are Ally Fecteau ’20 and Hannah Dike ’19, a crew convert who’d never participated in competitive athletics until she joined the team three years ago.

“I highly value the fact that you can reach your goals if you are willing to work hard towards them and put in the mental and physical effort,” says Dike, an exercise science major planning to become a physical therapist.

At the gala, Kantor heaped praise on Kurmakov. The former Ukrainian and Soviet national rowing champion singlehandedly manages the crew program, not only coaching 40-60 athletes, but doing everything else, including painting oars and repairing shells.

This anniversary year includes a $40,000 fundraising campaign to help keep the team pulling ahead.

See 40th Anniversary Commemorative Gala photos under “On the Scene.”