MHC Crew Celebrates Twenty-Five Years on the River


Mary Mazzio '83 on the Charles River

This fall marks the twenty-fifth year that Mount Holyoke students, often at sunrise, have challenged mind and body through the College's crew program. To celebrate, more than fifty crew alumnae, parents, and friends will be on campus during the weekend of September 28–30. The reunion was planned to correspond with the annual Mount Holyoke Women's Regatta, the oldest regatta for women in the country, now in its twenty-seventh year.

The weekend's events will kick off Friday evening with a viewing of the documentary film A Hero for Daisy at 8 pm in Gamble Auditorium. Directed by former Olympic rower Mary Mazzio '83, the film tells the story of two-time Olympic rower Chris Ernst, who, in 1976, led her Yale crew team in demanding rights equal to those of male athletes at the university. The protests, says Mazzio, “sparked nationwide awareness of what fairness and compliance with Title IX meant.” Title IX is the legislation passed in 1972 that mandates gender equity at all institutions that receive federal aid. The film has been lauded by the media and by viewers of all ages and athletic backgrounds. Mazzio, who made the film in part as inspiration for her daughter Daisy, won the 2000 Women's Sports Foundation Journalism Award. The film is open to the entire MHC community.

On Saturday, after cheering for current MHC team members at the regatta, crew alumnae will gather to embark on a row of their own on the Connecticut River. Later, at a dinner gathering for the reunion group, speakers will share their personal experiences in the development of women's rowing during the past twenty-five years. Speakers Saturday evening include Ernestine Bayer, Maril O'Malley, Wanda Fremont '76, Holly Metcalf '81, Mary Mazzio '83, and Jen Grow '94. The three co-captains of the current MHC crew team will also speak. Alexis Billett '04 is a math and art history major; Katie Boates '02 is majoring in physics; and Jenny Simon '02 is a sociology and math major.
Ernestine Bayer began her rowing career in 1938 in Philadelphia, which, at the time, produced more top oarsmen than any other area in the country. Her early involvement in the sport caused an uproar in the male rowing community. Bayer and her partner were the first women to race in a regatta in Philadelphia. She still rows for fun and competes at the Head of the Charles Regatta.

Maril O'Malley has been involved with MHC crew from its inception. She and her husband, the late Bob O'Malley, were instrumental in founding the program. The O'Malleys endowed a boat fund, maintaining a Mount Holyoke boat in their name in perpetuity.

Wanda Fremont was a founding member of MHC crew. In 1976 she rowed in the first MHC boat to participate in the Head of the Charles Regatta. The following year she rowed in the first MHC boat ever to qualify for nationals. Fremont is a child psychiatrist, and she still rows when she can.

Holly Metcalf is a six-time national/ Olympic team member, bringing home the Olympic gold in 1984, as well as three silver and one bronze World Championships medals between 1981 and 1987. She has coached at the national, collegiate, and community levels. Metcalf is the founder of Row As One, Inc., an organization for masters women that runs rowing camps in South Hadley during the summer.

Mary Mazzio was a member of several national rowing teams, including the 1992 Olympic team. Formerly a partner with a law firm in Boston, Mazzio is now president of 50 Eggs Inc., an independent film production company.

Jen Grow '94 began her rowing career at MHC. Since 1996 she has served on the board of the Mount Holyoke Friends of Rowing. She has coached both high school and masters crews and is currently the novice crew coach at MHC.

The weekend concludes with a farewell breakfast Sunday morning at 9 am in Kendall Hall.



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