Medal Crew Team to Receive New Boat
Crew, 2004 NCAA Silver Medalists
When Elizabeth “Tica”
Barrett Simpson ’79 attended school here, she spent
much of her time rowing hard in a racing boat, called a shell,
as a member of the successful crew team.
Last May, as Simpson attended her 25th reunion at Smith, she
was delighted to learn of the 2004 crew team’s recent
success at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s
Division III tournament in Sacramento, California, in which
it surpassed expectations by bringing home a silver medal.
Following her reunion, Simpson’s husband, Tad LaFountain
III, made a donation to the college in her honor of a new,
56-foot, $25,000 racing shell for the crew team. The shell
is a Vespoli 8, designed to accommodate eight racers plus
The “Tica Simpson ’79,” as the boat will
be named, will be officially christened during a ceremony
on Friday, October 29, in which Director of Athletics Lynn
Oberbillig will be joined by Tica Simpson, Smith President
Carol T. Christ and head crew coach Karen Klinger. The christening
ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on Chapin Lawn.
The celebration, which will culminate with the symbolic pouring
of champagne over the boat’s bow, will also honor the
silver-medal achievement of last year’s team.
The donation of a new crew racing shell will further enhance
the competitive strength of Smith’s crew team, which
is enjoying one of its strongest eras in college history,
says Klinger. A new shell, with a fresh finish will give the
crew team a faster, more nimble boat in which to compete.
“Getting a new boat is like getting your first new car,”
comments Klinger. “This shell is a ‘porsche,’
fast and sleek. Most of our athletes will only row in one,
maybe two new boats in their careers, so the smell, feel and
looks of one are very special.”
The new shell will join the team’s fleet of six eight-person
boats and four four-person boats. The team last purchased
a new 8-person racing shell three years ago.
The crew shell gift will provide benefits as well to the athletics
program and to the college, says Oberbillig. “This crew
shell donation from an alum is significant in many ways. The
crew team will have a faster, better boat heading into their
championships season. The athletic department can use the
funds that would have gone for a new shell to help out other
programs. But best of all, we enhance our relationship with
alumnae, who are so important to our continued success.”
Smith’s 2005 crew team, which has 80 members, expects
to be a strong contender in tournament competition again this
year. Most of the members from last year’s medal-winning
team have returned to compete.
The addition of the Tica Simpson ’79 will assist that