Since Dr. S. Ford Weiskittel and an intrepid group of students founded the modern Hobart and William Smith Rowing program in 1982, every rower and coxswain has experienced the grace and power of rowing on the canal and mighty Seneca Lake. In practice and on the racecourse, they have demonstrated the dedication, discipline and passion the sport requires to be a part of a harmonious crew and, together, get the bow ball over the finish line. As team members test their physical and mental tenacity to accomplish their goals, it has been equally important that the infrastructure around them also advances and improves.
Since the humble early days of wet launching, our crews have succeeded despite the challenges of operating without a complete facility to support the tremendous individual growth and team success we have enjoyed.
The 1994 construction of Hellstrom Boathouse provided a permanent home for our boats, launching an era of sustained achievement. Since then, William Smith has won major regattas, and multiple state and regional championships in the 1990’s. More recently the team has won nine Liberty League Championships and been to the NCAA Championships 13 times with the varsity eight twice earning a spot on the podium and one podium finish for the team overall; Hobart has won the Head of the Charles, brought home 14 Liberty League Championships and produced multiple USA National Team rowers along with Olympian Kent Smack. Over the past eight seasons, Hobart has been the #1 small-college team in the country, with multiple championships in the ECAC and NIRC regattas, and top-20 finishes at the IRA National Championships.
Both programs are poised to leap yet again. With a show-stopping boathouse and training facility, the HWS Rowing Center offers Statesmen and Herons a permanent and complete home, and shows new recruits a dynamic environment where they can envision themselves excelling. The planned renovations and additions are the catalyst necessary to see the Herons convert an NCAA Championship, the Statesmen rise from success into greatness, and HWS take its place as one of the premier programs in collegiate rowing.
Adding 4,932 square feet to the existing boathouse, the new rowing center offers a single facility designated to HWS crew teams. The bright, spacious training facility is outfitted with the infrastructure and equipment to support the practice and conditioning of the 100 athletes who participate in the Statesmen and Herons rowing programs each year.
The main room of the addition features a large open training area, with capacity for 70 rowing machines and stationary bicycles, and room for both Statesmen and Herons teams at once. Overlooking the dock and the Cayuga-Seneca canal, this space can also be repurposed for large team gatherings and events with families, friends and alums.
The dock redesign and expansion enables teams to stage as many as four, eight-person crews on the dock at once, providing an efficient launch, landing and recovery space for rowers, coxswains and coaches.
To facilitate the transition from coursework to training, the new Statesmen and Herons locker rooms offer a safe, secure location for athletes to store belongings during practices and races, and as they prepare to return to campus afterward.
Circling the canal-facing side of the HWS Rowing Center, the Plaza features a stunning view and is the main spectating area from the shore.
As students enter each locker room, they are greeted in the alcove. This space provides students with the opportunity to gather and to store their possessions before entering the locker room.
From the offices, coaches mentor individual athletes, develop training regimens and strategize for races, seasons and multiyear campaigns. With a view of the rest of the HWS Rowing Center, the offices enable coaches to survey and appraise the entire site to safely manage the hum of activity as HWS rowers and coxswains train and practice toward victory on the water.
The boat resource area is the central housing, maintenance and repair space for the Colleges’ shells and oars, ensuring equipment is always in top shape for athletes.
The planned renovations substantially increase equipment capacity, critically with the new equipment room where teams keep essential gear for safety and success on and off the water.
Displayed in the multipurpose room, the Donor Wall will recognize and celebrate the most enthusiastic and devoted supporters of Hobart and William Smith Rowing.