Of handling the first-day raindrops at Stotesbury, the world's oldest and largest high school rowing event, Tony Mieczkowski said he instructed the Explorers to "row the race you've been practicing for all year. I told them, 'Keep your head in the gunnels.' "
Jane Mieczkowski was a coxswain at Mount St. Joseph (Class of 2007) and Boston College. As a nurse at Lancaster General Hospital, a 12-hour shift is sometimes followed by a long drive and early-morning practice.
"It can be trying at times, but I love what I'm doing," she said. "And with my work schedule, being an assistant is ideal. I don't necessarily think I would have time to be a head coach."
Being a female coach at a boys' private school, Jane Mieczkowski said she had to "earn the respect of the guys" when she began helping her brother, then La Salle's freshman coach, three years ago.
"Jane is a good organizer and definitely keeps everybody focused on the task at hand," Tony Mieczkowski said. "She has a lot of enthusiasm for the sport."
This year, Stotesbury features 188 schools and 950 boats. "It's by far the most anticipated race of the year for me," said Vecchione, of Flourtown. "The competition is pretty fierce."
La Salle's second varsity eight, with senior Matt McCool as the stroke, placed fifth in Friday's time trials in 4 minutes, 39.44 seconds.
"You have to give it everything you have the whole time in a head race," McCool said. "We brought our stroke rate up from a 34 to 38."
McCool's twin brother, Chris, is the bow for Catholic League archrival St. Joseph's Prep's varsity quad. Another McCool, Brendan, is part of La Salle's freshman quad. The boys' sister, Rebecca, rowed at Mount St. Joe and now coaches at Sacred Heart in Bryn Mawr.
In the boys' varsity eight, Oakcrest (4:08.42), Holy Spirit (4:10.69), and St. Joe's Prep (4:12.39) were top-10 qualifiers.
For the girls in the same event, Merion Mercy (4:31.53) and Mount St. Joe (4:38.25) took second and fourth, respectively, in the trials.
If Friday's rain dramatically changes the water condition or amount of debris on the Schuylkill, Stotesbury officials could alter Saturday's schedule. A decision is expected to be made at 7 a.m.
For complete race results, go to www.stotesburycupregatta.com.