Davison '07 and Kennedy '07 selected to U-23 rowing camp

by Schuyler Evans | 5/10/07 2:04am

Kate Davison '07 will look to rejoin the Under-23 boat that she helped lead to a gold medal last summer.
by Kawakahi Amina / The Dartmouth

Last summer, both Big Green women helped secure a gold medal for the US in the Under-23 boat at the 2006 FISA U-23 World Championships, and the team shows promise again this year.

"Most of the team is returning," Davison said. "We have a good shot at winning, but you never know what talent is coming up in other countries, but I think we can do it."

Even after being on a winning boat, Kennedy and Davison are trying not to presume a seat for a second time for the U-23 boat.

"I am trying hard not to expect to make the team again," Kennedy said. "Last year I went into camp without expectations. I was flattered to be invited."

The next level above the U-23 team is the senior team, which races in the summer Olympics. Both Kennedy and Davison are currently Olympic hopefuls, with most of their hopes riding on the 2012 games rather than the upcoming 2008 competition. However, the only way either will happen is if they make the U-23 boat this summer.

"They have got a ways to go to get to that level," women's rowing coach Wendy Levash said. "The question is, if they want to dedicate their lives to it. They have got the talent, and they have got the drive. They are certainly among the best athletes at Dartmouth right now."

Upon their return to the Connecticut River from FISA last summer, the two seniors utilized their experience in international competition to lead their teammates in an attempt to raise Dartmouth rowing standards to a heightened level.

"They have brought back enthusiasm and motivation to the rest of the team, to bring everyone up to their level," Levash said. "Both of them gained a ton of confidence last summer, Anne in particular, and that filtered back to the rest of the team."

Davison said that she picked up a slogan from the camp last summer and brought it back to the boat house: "It is fun to go hard; it is fun to go fast."

Davison and Kennedy had very different rowing backgrounds before coming to Hanover.

Davison's career began to take off her freshman year of high school, where she made it onto the varsity team and her coach realized her potential. During her high school rowing career, she managed to make the junior national team and participated in the 2002 and 2003 FISA Junior World Championships, winning a silver and bronze medal. Consequently, Davison was heavily recruited by colleges. However, Dartmouth did not recruit the future first-team All American.

"The current coach, Wendy Levash, recruited me from Princeton. I almost went there," Davison said.

Kennedy, the Big Green's current team captain, decided to walk onto the rowing team after being told by the women's field hockey program that she would not be needed.

In high school, Kennedy participated as a mid-distance runner in track and field and played basketball and field hockey. Within her relatively short rowing career, Kennedy transformed herself into an Olympic hopeful and leader on a Division I team.

"I guess you can call it a Cinderella story," Kennedy said. "It has definitely been a great trip. I have just been so lucky in so many ways."

Kennedy has been so taken by rowing that she plans on becoming a Division I rowing coach after college.

"I would rather like to coach with her and get her back on the Dartmouth staff at some point," Levash said in reference to the possibility of coaching against Kennedy.

Davison and Kennedy, along with the rest of the rowing team and coach, are hoping for a powerful performance at the Eastern Sprints this Sunday, May 13, in Camden, N.J., that will qualify them for NCAA competition.

"I came to Dartmouth hoping to get Dartmouth into the NCAA [tournament]. I can't believe how much speed we have gained -- we actually have a shot at getting into the NCAA's this year, while a few years ago we were not even close," Davison said.