Perhaps central New Hampshire isn't the best place to start a crew team, since the lakes are frozen until mid-April, but seven hardy souls, along with Dean of Students John Lin, are determined to make a go of it. Here's a report from Max Paro on their first season on Squam Lake!
This spring, the Holderness athletic department offered students the opportunity to participate in the inaugural season of the Holderness crew team. Helmed by coach John Lin, the crew team’s seven members--Yarmony Bellows ’19, Buzz Fisher ’19, Eli Kooistra ’20, Luca Martinez-Ostos Merino ’20, Eleni Spiliotes ’20, Kitt Urdang ’19 and Sam Walzak ’19--navigate the open waters of Squam Lake.
Coach Lin has been involved with rowing for over 30 years. When asked how he got started in crew, John replied: “I was a baseball player in college, so I didn’t really know about rowing….When I went to graduate school in England… they didn’t have baseball or anything like that and I wasn’t interested in cricket, so I started rowing. I rowed probably every day I was in the country.” After returning to the states, he continued his rowing career, coaching the girls’ varsity crew team at Andover to multiple New England Championships.
A Holderness rowing team has long been a hope for John Lin. Fortunately, a recently developed relationship with Squam Community Rowing, “a grass roots rowing and sculling organization,” has allowed the school to overcome two previous hurdles--a place to row and equipment. Coach Lin has been coaching on a volunteer basis in the summer and helping them build their program, so they are generously sharing their equipment..
The Holderness crew team is a mix of experienced and novice rowers. Eleni Spiliotes said she has always wanted to do crew but she had never set foot in a shell before this spring: “I still don’t really know what’s going on, but everyday is a learning experience.”
“It’s definitely harder than it looks….I half expected to just pick it up… but it’s still really fun,” Yarmony Bellows answered when asked about the difficulty of learning to row.
Kitt Urdang, one of the more veteran members of the team, when speaking on the future of Holderness crew said: “It would be great as a fall sport for a little bit longer of a season because we weren’t really able to get out onto the water until May due to the weather.” Fall rowing may be in the future of Holderness crew, as fellow Lakes Region schools Proctor, Vermont Academy, and Brewster all have programs that compete during the fall.
While the crew team is still only in its pilot phase, this spring has been an opportunity to introduce rowing to the Holderness community and provide a starting point for what hopes to be a new and growing addition to the Holderness athletic program.
Albert Bierstadt, the German-American painter renowned for his landscapes of the American West, came to the White Mountains to capture its simple yet overwhelming beauty. What came to life through nearly a decade’s worth of work was The Emerald Pool, a massive oil-on-canvas monument to the natural majesty of a hidden swimming hole along the Peabody River in the Pinkham Notch. Recounting The Emerald Pool, Bierstadt said, “I never had so difficult a picture to paint, as this White Mountain subject the Emerald Pool; my artist friends think it my best picture and so do I.”
At Holderness we deliberately build community through the people we bring in and programs we support. Today I want to share one story about people who showed us what it means to be a mission-centered community and talk about one unique program that is hitting a milestone.
Kicking off its 141st year, Holderness School welcomed new students to campus on September 5th. Under blue skies and surrounded by the cheers of joyful Senior Leaders, 114 new students eagerly joined the Holderness School community. The day was filled with smiles as new students and families unpacked their cars and turned dorm rooms into a home away from home.