Aug. 4, 2006

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Members of the 2005-06 Lady Volunteer Rowing team have kept busy this summer as three individuals competed on a national stage. Rising juniors Leah Smelser and Genevieve Collins both worked in the USRowing development program, while Lauren Wells made her presence felt on the Canadian National Rowing roster.

Smelser (Macon, Ga.) accepted an invitation to join 24 other athletes from across the country for the USRowing Freshman Camp, held in Madison, Wis., in June. The camp hosted females from around the country who just completed their first year on the varsity roster in rowing and included athletes from all three divisions of the NCAA.

"Leah was very open-minded about this whole process," said UT head coach Lisa Glenn. "When I suggested that I would recommend her for this camp, she was interested immediately and was matter of fact about it. The experience showed Leah a new level in rowing that she needed to see, and it was something the team needed her to experience. When it comes to power, she is right there, and, with a little more push, she can move with greater authority. I'm excited for Leah and the difference she can make this year."

Collins spent time in the USRowing Mideast Development camp this summer and rowed in the national regatta held in Indianapolis, Ind., in late July. The Dallas, Texas, native competed in the non-coxed doubles and singles intermediate-level races. In an Olympic development pairs race, Collins and her partner finished just 8/10ths of a second in back of a New York Athletic Club shell.

"This summer has been just what Genevieve needed," Glenn commented. "It provided her with the opportunity to advance her skill and her power application. This season we will look to Genevieve to bring an increased confidence to her rowing that can only come from experiences like these. I'm proud of her for seeking this out and really benefiting from it."

The London, Ontario, native Wells snagged a spot in the women's straight four for upcoming international races in Europe. Wells will be a part of the squad at the Commonwealth Regatta at Strathclyde County Park in Scotland this weekend before moving on to the World University Rowing Championship (FISU) on August 11-13. FISU is being held in Trakai, Lithuania.

"The opportunity Lauren has to compete overseas is really wonderful," Glenn said. "It is a whole new arena in rowing, and she has worked hard to put herself in the running for seats in national team crews that will travel. One of the things Lauren has gained as a Lady Vol is finesse and efficiency. These will be her strengths as she continues to expand her rowing resume. I wish her the best."

The three were a part of the Lady Vols' squad that made its first full-team appearance at the NCAA Rowing Championships this past spring in Mercer County, N.J., where Tennessee finished 12th. UT is slated to kick off the 2006 fall season at the Chattanooga Head Race on Oct. 14.





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