HISTORY 

 

In 2000, two Xavier alumnae moms, Linda West and Barbara Gallagher, saw the potential to bring the predominately east coast sport of rowing to the Arizona desert shortly after the completion of the construction of the Tempe Town Lake. At that time, Barbara started taking rowing lessons herself and approached Sister Lynn Winsor, Vice Principal and Athletic Director at Xavier College Preparatory, concerning starting a rowing club at Xavier. 

Sister Lynn was enthusiastic and announcements were made at the school regarding the first meeting of the rowing club in the fall of 2000. The room was filled with over 140 girls who wanted to try something new. Tryouts were held and 40 girls started with the Tempe Parks and Recreation Department rowing sessions. After the first year, the girls wanted to race, so the Rio Salado Rowing Club was approached and the Xavier girls formed the core of the first Rio Salado Junior Rowing team. One season on the water and enthusiasm was so high that a dedicated group of parents formed Xavier Prep Crew. 

An article regarding the emerging team, the first and only high school team in Arizona, caught the attention of John Ciani who had been a rower and then coach at University of San Diego. In April of 2002, John read the article in the Arizona Republic stating that a search for a coach was being conducted and contacted Xavier. John joined the team of parents and athletes who were striving to raise the funds, and take on all the myriad of details that were required to make the team a reality. 

 

In the fall of 2002, 38 girls signed up with interest in the team. Since boats were not yet purchased, the girls were farmed out to various programs to get experience while parents worked to get the funds for boats. By Thanksgiving, the deposit was sent off to purchase an 8+ and two 4+s. A combination of loans and donations were made to the team to purchase the coaching launch, ergs and shells. Deliveries were made by the first week in February 2003 and the team was born. 

 

Fall 2004 brought 39 novices, and a new novice coach: Kelly Vanek. Before joining Xavier Crew, Kelly rowed for four years at the University of San Diego, distinguishing herself as a scholar-athlete and a team leader. She brought her winning ways to Xavier, and in addition coached the Arizona State Women's Rowing Team. Together, Coaches Ciani and Vanek built a team that won the 2005 Arizona State Junior Rowing Championship.

Since 2005 the program has continued to grow, adding more boats and more athletes. The club's race performances have continued to improve as well: runner up in the 2006 Arizona State Rowing Championships, State Champions in 2007 and 2008, and a first ever gold medal for the Freshman Eight at the Southwest Junior Regional Championships in 2008. In 2008, Coach Ciani became the Novice Coach, and Coach Vanek the Varsity Coach. In addition, Xavier Prep Crew alumna Natalie Russell was hired as an assistant Novice Coach. 

In 2011, Pete Cannia joined the team as the varsity coach, with Emily Burkett coming on as the novice coach. The spring of 2012 was the first year in program history that Xavier Prep Crew qualified for USRowing Youth National Championships, placing two boats in the top 3 at Regionals. Jessie Romine, Mariah Sullivan, Erin Ryan, Kenna Douds and Betsy Govig finished 17th at Nationals with Jessie and Mariah doubling into the 2- and placing 12th.

 

2012 saw Kelly Vanek becoming head coach with Tiernan Warner joining as an assistant coach and Emily Burkett staying as novice coach. 2012 was the first year that Xavier Prep Crew traveled to the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston , MA.

In 2013 Kelly said goodbye to Xavier Prep Crew after an amazing 9 years and Emily Burkett moved up to the head coach position with Tiernan Warner continuing as assistant coach and Cassie Gannon joining as the novice coach.

 

The spring of 2014 saw another boat qualifying for USRowing Youth Nationals with Kenna Douds and Ellie Martin finishing in 18th place after a 5th place finish at SRAAs.

In the Fall of 2014 Shannon Elford joined the team as the novice coach. And in the Fall of 2015 Shannon took over as Head Coach and Grace Ganz, a graduate of the Xavier Prep Crew program taking the position of Assistant Coach.

Coach Peter Figgins joined the team in the Fall of 2015, providing part time technical coaching on the water for the rowers.  

 

PO Box 60744

Phoenix, AZ 85082-0744

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