SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Mount Holyoke College Director of Athletics Lori Hendricks has announced the hiring of Laura Larsen-Strecker as the head novice coach for the rowing program. Larsen-Strecker, who will also serve as the equipment manager for the Lyons, is a former world champion and was a collegiate rower at Harvard.
"I am excited to welcome Laura to our Mount Holyoke athletics family. She comes to us with a great deal of success and experience as a rower and coach," said Hendricks. "As a collegiate rower and co-captain at Harvard University, she also understands the environment at an academically selective institution with high athletic aspirations."
"I am excited and looking forward to coaching the novice rowers at Mount Holyoke this fall and introduce new athletes to the sport of rowing. What I love about rowing is the way the sport melds individual and team efforts," said Larsen-Strecker. "When you take the personal dedication to excellence that brings these students to Mount Holyoke, and you multiply that across a team, within a boat, it's really a great thing. I can't wait to be a part of that process."
Larsen-Strecker comes to Mount Holyoke after serving as the assistant varsity coach at Newton Country Day School last season. Prior to that, she was a multi-sport instructor at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center for two years. While there, she instructed visitors in the sports of rowing and cross country skiing. Larsen-Strecker also served two seasons as a coach for the Charles River Rowing Camp.
"I'm thrilled to have Laura join our coaching staff," said Heather Putnam, MHC head rowing coach. "She's an excellent teacher and a tremendous role-model. As a scholar-athlete herself, Laura had an outstanding collegiate career, both academically and athletically. Her knowledge and experience will be a great resource to our student athletes and helping them achieve the next level."
A two-time world champion, Larsen-Strecker won gold in the eight at the 2009 World Rowing Championships. She also was a gold medalist, also in the eight, at the 2008 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. On the national stage, Larsen-Strecker finished second in the eight at the 2010 USRowing Elite Nationals, while posting a fifth and sixth place finish in the pair at the 2010 National Selection Regattas (#2 & #3). She also took second in the single at the USRowing Elite Nationals in 2014.
During her collegiate career, Larsen-Strecker was a four-year standout and letterwinner on the Harvard-Radcliffe crew team. She served as a co-captain during the 2007-08 season, helping her squad to an 11-3 record as a senior. In addition to winning The BeanPot that year, Radcliffe was third at the EAWRC Sprints and finished seventh overall at the NCAA Championships. Individually, Larsen-Strecker was a CRCA Pocock DI All-America First Team honoree as a senior, taking home Second Team honors in 2007.
A native of Brookline, Massachusetts, Larsen-Strecker graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2008, with a B.A. in Earth and Planetary Sciences. An EMT, she also holds a USATF Level 1 coaching certification.
Left image of Larsen-Strecker rowing with Radcliffe Crew courtesy of Harvard Athletics. Top right photo of medal ceremony at Rowing World Cup courtesy of John Gichigi/Getty Images Europe. Lower right photo courtesy of Laura Larsen-Strecker.