On The Boat

Seniors Cormac Rooney and Luca Webb have committed to row and sail collegiately. They agreed to sit down and talk about their decisions as well as the nuances of boat-sport recruiting compared to the other sports Malvern has to offer. 
Senior Luca Webb in competition.
Senior Luca Webb in competition.

On Nov. 15, 2023, Cormac Rooney publicly announced his commitment to rowing at Boston University. His hard work in the classroom and rowing on the river made this decision possible.


Before discussing recruiting, Rooney gave insight into what made BU his choice for the future of his academic and rowing career. The combination of facilities, education, and coaching made him feel confident in his decision. 


“Coach Bohrer at BU was the right coach for me for the next four years…[and] having your own boathouse for the program which for a rower is your safe space was awesome,” Rooney said. 


Rooney designated junior year as the most important for the typical rower going through the recruiting process. 


Summer going into junior year, you’re allowed to start reaching out to coaches and talking with them…as well sending race results from the junior year and over that summer up all the way through fall,” Rooney said. 


On Dec. 11, 2023, Luca Webb publicly announced his commitment to row at the University of Miami (FL). Webb’s process was different from that of the usual Malvern athlete, as most of his practice and competition occurred out of state and off school grounds. Luca also accomplished this feat despite Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania in general, not being a hotbed for sailing talent. 


Unless you’re in Annapolis, Maryland, or Florida for high school, high school sailing is not that big. Being in Philadelphia, we don’t have the best sailing. So, it was really based on all my results outside of high school sailing,” Webb said.


Webb also remarked that at the beginning of this process, Miami as a school had not crossed his mind as a possibility. But when an opportunity like Miami came along, he knew he had to take it. 


Miami was not even close to my list going into junior year. But, when you’re in the best place to sail in the country, it becomes a pretty big factor for the decision for me and a big reason I wanted to go there.”


A key difference between the rowing and sailing recruiting process was the stock coaches put into times and finishes. Rooney explained how coaches were looking for good times while Webb explained the importance of his cumulative finishes. Sailing times can vary drastically day to day, as wind is a factor. 


Rooney explains that coaches want to see race times and how each rower has progressed throughout their career.


“…giving coaches your height and weight, 2k times [2000-meter race simulation on an ergometer], 6k times(6000-meter race),” states Rooney.


“It’s not like rowing, where we have to finish the race in 30 minutes. You’re going to have a race where you got fifth place, and then you have races where you’re 50th. They kind of see if you’re just consistent through all these events. That’s really what they’re looking for,” Webb said. 


One thing that stayed constant throughout both these athletes’ stories was the emphasis on hard work and dedication as driving factors to their success. Between Rooney’s 7 AM workouts in Dougherty, followed by practice and more conditioning in the afternoon, and Webb’s two-hour drive to MD most weekends for sailable conditions, both athletes remarked on the sacrifices and “time commitment” they made to make it to the next level.


[Rowing] is something that you really have to put the work into. You have to be ready and willing to come and work every day day in and day out. For two or three years, four years, everything but on the water and in the weight room as well. It becomes a big time commitment” stresses Rooney.


When asked about advice for the Malvern athlete going through the recruiting process Webb reflected on Malvern and how attending here prepared you to be yourself around coaches.


“I think Malvern sets you up very well. Almost every kid here can go and talk for themselves and be okay and comfortable around adults, advocating for their own skills and advocating for themselves. But just setting you up for life and being able to go through that recruiting process with full competence is probably the biggest thing for the Malvern athlete,” reflects Webb. 

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