SRA Junior Program Director Eliza Dickson has announced Dennis Ferrer as Head Girls Coach.
"The key traits I was looking for during the search were a commitment to developing young people, both in and out of rowing; a commitment to building a full-team culture based on hard work and respect; the ability to work with all coaches on staff in a selfless and positive manner; and a history of success at the regional and national level," said Dickson. "During this process I became more and more confident that the best person for this job was right here in our boathouse."
"After working with Dennis over the past year one major thing stood out to me - the care, commitment and passion to give his athletes the best experience possible," Dickson continued. "That is the most important trait that I look for in any coach on our staff. Additionally, Dennis has a history of success coaching Sammamish boats to more than 13 Northwest Regional Championships and qualifying eight boats to USRowing Youth Nationals with four making the grand final – more than any other coach in SRA’s history. These are high achievements for an early coaching career."
“I’m humbled and excited by the opportunity to lead this team,” Ferrer said. “I’ve been a part of Sammamish for a long time and am looking forward to continuing to build SRA into the program we all know it can be. There is an incredible group of young women on the team right now and I think we are primed to make some big steps forward.”
Following high school rowing, Gallaher decided to attend the University of Washington (UW). Even before she started rowing, she knew that she wanted to attend UW for academics. After her rowing career started to get serious, she started to consider rowing in college. She got into UW without any help from the rowing team and then began to talk to coaches, and was eventually recruited onto the team. It would turn out that Gallaher would go on to become an incredible collegiate rower. Her list of accomplishments include winning 3 PAC-12 championships, an NCAA championship, and being invited to the US U23 national team selection camp this summer.
Overall, rowing for the Huskies has been a dream come true for Gallaher. “It’s surreal looking back at the time that I didn’t think I was good enough to row for UW,” she said. “I looked up to the older girls on the team my freshman year, and looking where I am now it is honestly a little unbelievable. These past three years have had so many ups and downs, but at the end of the day I feel so lucky and blessed to be where I am. I absolutely love the team.”
Gallaher and other teammates, both men and women, spent time last year writing the grant proposal and ended up receiving one of the largest grant sums from the University’s Sustainability fund. The men’s and women’s rowing teams will each receive an electric motor, and Gallaher and her team are looking for more ways to bring sustainability to the rowing community. Another aspect of their project is outreach. “We had the opportunity to talk at a Sammamish Rowing Association board meeting about our project. Electric launches might not be feasible at the time for all rowing programs, but starting a conversation about environmental sustainability is a great first step. It’s been really cool to be a part of the conversation, and even cooler that SRA was also involved. UW and SRA are both leaders in the northwest rowing community and I’m proud to be associated with both programs,” Gallaher said.
Fellow SRA junior rowing alumni, Tennyson Federspiel, helped Gallaher and her project partners present at the Sammamish boathouse. It is special to see our alumni embracing one of the core values of SRA, thoughtful stewardship, beyond their time at the Hod Fowler Boathouse. It just goes to show that we coach not just amazing rowers, but incredible leaders too.
Rowing has provided so many opportunities for Gallaher- something she is very aware of. She hopes to give back to the sport she loves, and when asked if she had any advice to offer, she said: “I think if I had advice to give to younger athletes it would be to not set limits for yourself. I realize it’s easy for me to say now that I’m rowing at UW and coming off of a national championship, but there was a time not so long ago that I thought I wasn’t good enough or strong enough to row at UW.”
“I am so thankful I had the experience of going through SRA- mainly being introduced to the sport and community at SRA. The support and coaching staff at SRA is so incredible. The community at SRA pushed me to take my rowing career as far as I could.” Gallaher finished with.
Congratulations on your incredible accomplishments, Molly! SRA is so proud of the leader and the person you are now, both in and out of the boat. We can’t wait to see what your senior year of college holds for you!