Men’s varsity four boat finishes fifth at New England Rowing Championships

The University of Maine Crew Club men’s varsity four boat placed fifth in the Grand Final at the New England Rowing Championships (NERC) on May 4 on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The boat of Garrett Robinson, Ben Duddy, Kile Gianetti, Alec Latham and coxswain Marissa Hughes completed the 2,000-meter course in 7:21.420.

Bowdoin College won the race (6:57.598), followed by University Massachusetts Lowell (7:08.853) and Wentworth Institute of Technology (7:10.503). The University of Vermont (7:20.230) nipped the Black Bears (7:21.420), who had an impressive final sprint to edge Amherst College (7:21.480).

Earlier in the day, UMaine bested Johnson & Wales University, Endicott College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy to advance to the Grand Final.

Robinson ’19, a mechanical engineering major from Eliot, Maine, was in the stroke (first) seat; Duddy ’19, a civil engineering major from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, was in the No. 3 seat; Gianetti ’19, a biology major from North Andover, Massachusetts, was in the No. 2 seat; and Latham ’21, a marine sciences major from Sanbornton, New Hampshire, was in the bow seat. Hughes ’22, a political science major from Deep River, Connecticut, was the coxswain.

Dale Russell, Campus Recreation’s assistant director of sport clubs and youth programs, is the club’s adviser.

This year and last, the student-run and student-coached UMaine Crew Club won Campus Recreation’s Sports Club of the Year. And this year, Robinson, the crew club’s president, won Sports Club Officer of the Year.

Robinson fell in love with the sport at UVM before transferring to UMaine. He says being club president the last three years has been an honor.

“Being a part of building this program has been the greatest accomplishment of my life,” he says. “I am so proud of what the team has accomplished together.”     

Rowing challenges people to be their very best and everyone in the boat succeeds or fails together, says Robinson.

“We wake up early, get blisters on our hands, push our bodies to their breaking point, and then do it all again the next day. You do it for yourself but also for your team,” he says. “There is no ball hog or MVP, it takes everyone doing their job in perfect time in order for the team to be successful.”

Duddy says rowing, which he was introduced to by his brother, builds grit, determination and camaraderie. Rowing a 2,000-meter race (1.25 miles) is equal to playing back-to-back basketball games, according to U.S. Rowing.

“I’ve been rowing for the past seven years, starting during my sophomore year of high school,” says Duddy. “Once I tried it I fell in love with it.”

Duddy says he’s also enjoyed opportunities to get on the water in beautiful places and meet Black Bear alums and parents of UMaine students at regattas.

The men’s varsity four was the lone boat representing UMaine at NERC. But the team has three other student-coached boats that compete. The club, which touts nearly 20 members, has a second men’s varsity four, a women’s varsity four, and a women’s novice four.

Rowers have seven boats — six four-person shells and one two-person shell — in which to compete and practice.

To prep for the eight or so regattas per year, rowers practice on the Stillwater River and work out on indoor rowing machines (ergs). In early spring, when New England’s northernmost collegiate club rowers train on the river, they sometimes encounter ice chunks and large drifting logs.

Alexandra Kaiser is the club president for 2019–20 and all undergraduate and graduate students interested in participating next fall are invited to email All experience levels are welcome.