Under the leadership of Co-Captains Elizabeth Kemp ’15 and Qiqi Ren ’15, the Girls Crew team has worked cohesively to claim numerous first place finishes in its four regattas this season.
The differing leadership styles of both Captains complement each other effectively to motivate and inspire the team.
“[Kemp] and [Ren] are strong leaders, and they’re good at keeping the team united. [Kemp] is like the team mom; she’s so supportive and kind. [Ren] is a big motivator and always brings a laugh to the boathouse,” said Vienna Kuhn ’16, a rower on G1.
Athletic standout Kemp, a three-year Senior from Greenwich, CT., has rowed on the Girl’s team all three years and captained both Girls Soccer and Girls Ice Hockey this year. She will build on her rowing prowess next year on the crew team at Harvard College.
“I started on the Varsity boats and have been working hard to stay there since. We are doing well this season. We have some really strong new novice girls and the returners came back even stronger and more driven,” said Kemp.
Kemp sees each and every practice as an opportunity to work hard, swing and press together, build up speed, and have fun as a team. Kemp especially enjoys Crew for its palpable team chemistry and unity.
“We are competing against our teammates everyday to make our boats go faster and yet we are completely dependent on the other girls in our boat. Our boat is incapable of moving without the togetherness of all nine of us, and if we didn’t push ourselves against the other girls on our team in the boat across from us, we wouldn’t get any better,” said Kemp.
Ren, a four-year Senior from Portland, OR., has been racing in G1 since Junior year, picking it up on a whim when she started at Andover.
Ren said, “Swimming used to be my primary sport, and I had never really heard much about crew before. I thought it looked like fun, especially since there’s such a strong team aspect in rowing.”
Ren also participates in Girls Cross Country and Girls Swimming, but has transitioned to prioritizing crew and will continue in college on the lightweight crew team at Stanford University.
“During my time at Andover, the Girls Crew team has gotten stronger each year and is at the best it’s been for a while this year,” said Ren.
As both Co-Captains are tri-Varsity powerhouses with little offseason time, they prepared for Crew season by fitting cross-fit training and various aerobic exercises into their busy schedules. They often lead workouts for their team before the season starts, helping to form the essential bonds between rowers.
This year, Kemp and Ren have tackled the rowers’ challenges of working together as individuals on a very large team.
“We have the biggest team that we’ve ever had, and it’s a challenge to be able to reach everyone and have the entire team be one cohesive whole,” said Ren. “Everyone on the team is equally important to the team’s success, and this year we’ve been doing especially well with having people understand that lineups are not the most important thing.”
The Co-Captains have high hopes for the rest of this season and are striving for nothing short of excellence.
“One of the things that I think last season left us with was a feeling that we could have done something more. This season, I know we are focusing on really giving our 110 percent to every stroke, practice and race. All of us want to cross that final finish line knowing that we gave it everything we had. It’s our collective goal to make our boats go fast with the mentality that if we can get an extra centimeter on every stroke, our bow balls will be crossing that finish line first,” said Kemp.
Kemp and Ren positively impact their teammates every day in practice and in races. When they graduate, they will leave a legacy of hard work and optimism.
Kuhn said, “I’ll miss their energy and love for the team. They really embody the spirit of Andover Crew.”