The men’s lightweight eight boat on Fordham’s crew team is ranked among the nation’s top collegiate crew powerhouses.
The boat is ranked sixth in the cMax collegiate rowing rankings that were released Wednesday, May 14. That places Fordham higher than traditional crew juggernauts such as Harvard (no. 7) and Penn (no. 10).
Still not impressed?
Then consider that the men’s team at Fordham competes as a club-level sport, unlike the varsity teams that dominate collegiate rowing.
“It’s a pretty big deal, because the other teams have all the resources in the world and spare no expense to try to have the fastest boats they can possibly have,” Fordham coach Ted Bonanno said. “It’s exciing, especially with us being ranked above Harvard right now.”
The lightweight eight boat started the season unranked but has won each of its competitions, including the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia on May 9 and 10. The oarsmen now are training for the national championship IRA Regatta next month in Camden, N.J.
The rowers have paid the price for such stellar performance, Bonanno said.
From the first week of classes last fall, the Fordham crew team has dedicated itself to early morning practices six days a week. They travel to Roberto Clemente State Park at 6 a.m. to begin prepping their shells, then take to the Harlem River for a full workout.
And those are the easy days.
“The training for the IRA Regatta is even more intense than during the school year,” Bonanno said. “Because they don’t have commitments to classes, we’re practicing twice a day. The kids are going to give up a nice portion of their summer vacations to do that.”
Bonanno, who has been coaching men’s and women’s crew at Fordham since 1989, has a track record of success. His boats have medaled in the Dad Vail in 19 consecutive seasons and brought home 10 championships.
Fordham crew also has won a Division I National Collegiate Championship at the IRA Regatta under his tutelage.