Crew - Varsity Boys
2020 - 2021
Head Coach: Andy Anderson
Captain for 2021: Luke Benedict '21
Alex Karwoski '08 Named US Rowing’s Senior Team Athlete of the Year
Video: Groton vs. Radley in the Princess Elizabeth Cup at Henley Royal Regatta
Since the Groton's founding, rowing has been one of the school’s most popular and successful sports. It promotes camaraderie, tenacity, competitiveness, and teamwork – important qualities in sport and in life.
Rowing begins with preseason practice in mid-March and ends with the NEIRA Championships on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester at the end of May. Groton competes in the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) along with over twenty-five other schools, among them Middlesex, St. Mark's, Belmont Hill, Brooks, BB&N, Noble and Greenough, Deerfield, Choate, and Pomfret—all in four-man shells with coxswain.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who are the coaches?
Groton Crew is lucky to have a very strong coaching staff, individuals with long and successful careers in boys collegiate, national, and international competitive rowing. Feel free to contact any of the coaches throughout the year.
Andy Anderson: Varsity Boys Coach
Andy Anderson, AKA Doctor Rowing, has coached rowing at Groton since 1980. He started his love affair with the sport at Mount Hermon School, where he coxed a championship 8. At Trinity College, he continued to be part of winning crews. At Groton, he has coached the boys and girls; this is his first year back with the boys after coaching the girls for the previous 23 years. In that time, they won the Henley Women’s Regatta three times and were National and New England champions. He coached the US Lightweight Women’s National team for eleven years and helped them win three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at the World Rowing Championships. Since 1994, he has written a column, Ask Doctor Rowing that is a popular staple of Rowing, the world's largest rowing publication. He has a best-selling book, The Compleat Dr. Rowing. Andy teaches Spanish and serves as Director of Financial Aid and Director of Rowing at Groton. He is married and has three children who all row.
Steve Timpany: Steve Timpany began rowing at 13 years old under the tutelage of Steve "Crusher" Casey, renowned Irish national rowing champion. An avid Master’s rower with the Cambridge Boat Club, Steve has continued to compete throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is in his seventh year at Groton School.
Michael O'Donnell: Michael O'Donnell was the varsity coxswain at Noble and Greenough School before going on to cox at Dartmouth. He has coached at Miami Rowing Club, St. Mark's School, and Fessenden School before coming to Groton in the fall of 2012. He is Groton’s Dean of Students.
2. I've heard that Groton is really good in crew; is that true?
Over the past years, Groton has had one of the best crew programs in the country. We are a perennial contender for the New England Championships (NEIRA) on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester. In the last fifteen years, we have won four New England Team titles, in 2000, 2002, 2011, and 2015, as well as collected many individual titles. Our crews competed at the Henley Regatta in England in 2000, 2002, and 2012 and at the Cincinnati Invitational in 2007. Our girls program is also very strong, and we enjoy supporting each other in practice and at races.
3. I've never rowed before. Is that a problem?
Not at all. Although rowing is becoming more popular at the club level, very few students have any experience rowing before they enter boarding school. Rowing here begins with learning the basics, but a good, dedicated athlete will be racing very quickly. In most years, by the end of the season, some of the best novices will be in the varsity boats.
4. How do you learn to row?
We begin with some work on the indoor rowing machines (ergometers) to provide the fundamental dynamics of the rowing stroke. Then we spend time rowing in the Barge, a big stable boat that allows new rowers to row without worrying about balance. After several weeks in an eight, we move into our racing boats, fours with coxswain.
5. What kind of person makes the best rower?
The most important qualities are an ability to push yourself, a sense of rhythm, strength, and aerobic fitness. It is important to realize that rowing is a team sport, and that you must work very closely with four other people in your boat. It is often an advantage to be tall, but strength and fitness are key. If you have enjoyed competitive sports before high school, you will like rowing. Remember, too, that crew has a unique position for smaller people: the coxswain. A coxswain steers the boat, gives all of the commands on race day, and carries out the racing strategy. It is a great position for a competitive athlete who is not very big.
6. I've heard that it is hard work. Is it fun?
Like all sports, to succeed you must dedicate yourself to working hard to improve your skills and to gain strength and endurance. But it is also a great deal of fun. The feeling of being in a fast boat is unique. The teamwork is great. When a crew is rowing well, the boat achieves "swing."
7. What kinds of boats do you have?
In New England, smaller schools generally row in coxed fours and larger schools row in eights. Fours are very sensitive to balance, and they give you a great way to learn to row very well. We have nine fours, as well as two eights that we use in training. We are very lucky to have excellent support from our parents and alumni/alumnae. They have allowed us to own some of the best sweep boats in the world, Empachers and Resolutes. The School owns three double sculls and four singles that students may use in the fall.
8. Where do you row?
Again, we are lucky in that we row right at the edge of campus. To get to the newly renovated Bingham Boathouse, we take a short walk down a scenic dirt road to the Nashua River, which passes by campus. It's a beautiful and narrow river that is protected from spring breezes, and we can row over three-and-a-half miles in one direction before we have to turn around. We have near-perfect rowing conditions every day. Although the boathouse is very close, many rowers say that "it feels like it is off-campus," away from the everyday world of school.
9. Have any members of the boys crew continued on to row in college?
These are our college rowers from the past ten years:
Django Broer Hellerman '08: Yale
Alex Karwoski '08: Cornell (US 2014-18 USA National Team) Rowed in 2016 Olympics
Michael Phillips '08: Trinity College
Seppi Colloredo-Mansfeld '09: Yale
Henry Hoffstot '09: Georgetown (US 2014 National Team)
Nathaniel Lovell Smith '09: Cornell
Kerri McKie '09: Georgetown
Cole Papakyrikos '09: Cornell
Adam Reeve '09: Yale
Robert Black '10: Trinity College
Michael Hotz '10: Brown
Fabrizio Giovannini ’11: Princeton
Matt Hennrikus '11: Georgetown
Remy Knight ’11: Wisconson
Max Lindemann ’11: Columbia
Gage Wells '11: UVA
Jon White ’11: Trinity
Jamie Billings ’12: Dartmouth
Derek Boyse ’12: Georgetown
Ray Dunn ’12: Georgetown
Art Santry ’12: Dartmouth
Tom Cecil ’13: MIT
Johan Coloredo-Mansfeld ’13: Harvard
Connor Popik '13: MIT
Ellee Watson ’13: George Washington University
Wyatt Prill '14: Dartmouth
Willy Anderson '15: Bates
Hugh Cecil '15: Columbia
Trevor Fry '15: Bates
Michael Gates '15: Cornell
Rebecca Kimball '15: Dartmouth
Chenyu Ma '15: Yale
Will Popik '15: MIT
Nick Barry '16: Harvard
Hayden Futch '16: Vanderbilt
Charlie Patton '16: Brown
Andrew Sudol '16: Columbia
Westby Caspersen '17: Harvard
John Cecil '17: California Berkeley
Piper Higgins '17: Williams
Chris Yee '17: Princeton
Richie Santry '18: Dartmouth
Other Notable Oarsmen
- Groton has had five Olympic gold medalists, one silver, and one bronze medalist.
- Ten boys have rowed on the Junior National team.
- Alex Karwoski ’08 is fighting for a seat in the USA 8 for the Olympics in Rio. He has been on the USA team for the past two years.
- Henry Hoffstot ’09 was president of the Cambridge University Boat Club. They won The Boat Race 2016, the world’s oldest rowing race.