2022 Dad Vail Program

The Dad Vail 1995 Regatta was already poised to be a most meaningful race for our crew, and it ended up being that and more. Of the nine women who made up Michigan’s Varsity 8+, six of us were seniors. We were finishing up our collegiate racing career in the same race where we had finished our novice rowing season years earlier -- a race steeped in rowing history on a river that had seen decades of rowers racing past storied Boathouse Row. Over the course of our four years together, the six of us were part of a determined pack of women devoted to bringing Michigan rowing to a new level. Michigan crew was a club sport at the time, but we poured our time, energy, and even our funds into the sport. We were part of a group that elevated equipment, uniforms, blades, and expectations over our tenure (together with an equally determined set of men in Michigan crew). We were headed into Dad Vail determined to make our last race together count, not just for us, but also for our coach, Mark Rothstein. Mark started coaching the year we started rowing, and he had poured his heart and soul into making us a team that could compete on a national level, and a team that believed it could compete. As that weekend progressed, and we moved through heats, reps, and semifinals, we kept our dream of doing something special for the program and each other alive. Our race in the finals was seared in my memory, even as we gave it everything -- to the point where you don’t remember things! There was adversity; the course was not perfectly straight under the last bridge, we had a young coxswain, and it was tight and contested as Temple had rowed into our lane. At the end, though we had rowed faster, we weren’t sure if we had won! Crossing that line was a surreal experience. We were thrilled, having raced the race of our lives, but it was bittersweet. We had taken our last strokes together after pouring all of our love into this sport and this program. The beauty of Dad Vail lies in its tradition within the sport of rowing, and one of the most wonderful is the opportunity the regatta gave to one male and one female crew to earn a trip and a spot in the Henley regatta in England. When they announced that out of hundreds of crews, the Michigan Women’s Varsity 8+ were the recipients of that trip of a lifetime, as well as a bid to the National Championships, I don’t know if any of us could believe it! It afforded us the chance to continue to row together and make more memories, and that was an absolute dream come true for this motley group. We had spent much of our college career rowing during frigid Michigan weather, traveling the country to races in 15 passenger vans, sleeping on church floors and school gymnasiums, all while expecting to compete against the best programs in the nation! As we flew back from England, I remember talking to Mark as he expressed that he didn’t know what would come next for him. We all knew Michigan was considering rowing as a new varsity sport that spring as Title IX swept the nation. Some of us had even met with people in the athletic department during the vetting process. Mark thought he would interview for the job. For the six of us seniors, that race at Dad Vail and that spring and summer meant the world. We were even prouder of what came next. The program whose status we had worked so hard to elevate was chosen to become Michigan’s newest varsity sport and the coach who had given us this sport was chosen to lead this new program. Our beloved teammates would become Michigan's first rowing letter winners ever -- three from the boat that won that 1995 race at Dad Vail and so many more whom we’d rowed with and maybe even scared with our commitment! For many of us, Dad Vail became a start and not the end we had anticipated it would be. Three of us coached with Mark as he built a new varsity program. Another went on to coach at Stanford. Truly, all of us were formed by this beautiful sport and those frigid moments on the water together, and what happened at Dad Vail just let us continue our dream and our connection to the sport further than we had thought possible. Written by: Pam (Carroll) Lucken With assistance from her boatmates: Carrie (Hogg) Davis, Katherine (Krainer) Kovarik, Jeannette Stawski, Melissa Giddings, Amy Babchek, Lisa (Labadie) Heartz, and Laurie Tuschen ROSTER: Cox: Nazema Siddiqui 8 - Carrie (Hogg) Davis 7 - Pam (Carroll) Lucken 6 - Katherine (Krainer) Kovarik 5 - Jeannette Stawski 4 - Melissa Giddings 3 - Amy Babchek 2 - Lisa (Labadie) Heartz 1 - Laurie Tuschen 25YEARS AGO Remembering the 1995 Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta