My name is Chiara Colicino and this is my third year as a Chapman Men’s Crew coxswain. This season marks my second varsity year. As a coxswain, my role is to steer the boat and to verbally steer my teammates to success with encouragement and guidance.
On Saturday April, 7, Chapman Men’s Crew participated in the Newport Regatta against USC, UCLA, UCSB, USC, and the rowing power house, Orange Coast College. Our event was the Men’s Varsity 4+. In my boat, rowers George Moutsatson, Philip Englert, Michael Lee and Matthew Oliver, shot away from all of the other boats right off of the start. We were able to keep this lead and gain more throughout the 2000 meters. We didn’t “fly and die” as the announcer feared we would. Instead, the boat surge past our competitors with strong, powerful, yet controlled, strokes. It was the rowers’ focus and technique that propelled us across the finish line first.
Our participation in the Newport Regatta was contingent on an invite from Orange Coast College, something Chapman hasn’t received in over 5 years. In this light, when the Varsity 4+ took home First Place, I turned to my Coach and said “This is like a Disney movie.” While the beautiful weather, the cheering teammates, and the collective joy as we passed the finish line felt a lot like something from the movies, I realize now it’s a poor analogy. The victory was a lot sweeter than something scripted. Unlike fairytales and Disney movies that are just illusions, this was a victory we’ve been working towards for a long time. It was one of those wonderfully rare moments in life where you dedicate all of your efforts to a singular goal and actually achieve it. With sheer willpower and momentum, we took control of fate.
As our President Matthew Oliver so astutely pointed out on race day, this is a victory for all of Chapman Crew, not just for those who were in the Varsity 4+. It’s a victory for our Coach, whose dedication and passion ignites a strong work ethic throughout our team. It’s a victory for our fellow teammates who push each other at the boathouse and in the gym to be better every day. By just sheer numbers, I can see how much our program has grown since I joined the team. But, there’s something else we’ve gained too. There’s something palpable on our team that I felt as we raced by our dock – passion. I can’t wait to see where this passion and dedication will take us next.