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It's finally summer! We have some exciting announcements for the coming months and hope you'll join us!


Dust off your college unis and set your ergs! Friends of Sharks Crew is hitting the water this fall! We'll be racing in the 2023 Head of the Charles Alumnae 4+ event and are submitting for an Alumnae 8+ lottery entry, meaning we'll be seeking up to twelve rowers and two coxswains to represent Simmons alums on the water. Racing opportunities will also include other local regattas such as Head of the Kevin and Textile River Regatta. 

Interested HOCR competitors should be prepared to submit recent ergometer scores in early fall for consideration, meaning you have all summer to begin training! For more information on rowing with Friends of Sharks Crew and to submit your interest, please visit our website.


Join Friends of Sharks Crew at the New England Rowing Championships on Saturday, May 6th in Worcester, MA! We’ll be hosting Simmons Rowing’s food tent and cheering them on in one of their biggest races of the season. Spend the day at Lake Quinsigamond enjoying great company, racing, and food! All Simmons alums and friends are welcome. 

Date: Saturday, May 6th
Location: Regatta Point Park, Worcester MA
RSVP by April 28th


Happy 2023, Friends of Sharks Crew! We're excited for the year ahead as we plan for several upcoming events and look forward to Simmons Rowing's spring season. We hope to see you there!


Calling all California Simmons alumnae/i! Join Friends of Sharks Crew for a regional gathering at the San Diego Crew Classic, hosted by Whitney (House) Crane (Simmons '92). All Simmons alums are welcome to attend, not just former crew team members. Guests welcome, too! This will be a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and reminisce about our time at Simmons. 

Date: Saturday, April 1, 2023 @ 9:30AM
Parking: Free parking at Ski Beach. You may take the free shuttle directly to the regatta gate.
Tickets: Available for purchase online. Unlock the discounted Adult General Admission ticket rate when you attend with Friends of Sharks Crew! The discount code for purchasing these tickets will be sent after RSVPing via link above. (Please note: A ticket is required to enter the event venue). 

Come out to enjoy some great collegiate rowing on Mission Bay!


Thanks to our community, our anonymous donor match, AND an unexpected corporate gift match, we raised $3168 for Simmons Crew in honor of Title IX!


2022 marks fifty years since the enactment of Title IX. Before 1972, Simmons students could be barred from competing in athletics on the basis of sex. Today, Simmons Athletics continues to look to a future of opening doors and smashing ceilings. 

In honor of 50 years of Title IX and the trailblazers who paved the way for today's student athletes, each Simmons team has been challenged with a fundraising goal of $5000 by the end of the year. With over four decades of Crew alum, Friends of Sharks Crew accepts the challenge and calls on our community to get Simmons Rowing to this goal!

Make a donation today with designation for Friends of Rowing in honor of Title IX! All donations with designation for Friends of Rowing will be restricted for use only by the crew team.


That's a wrap on head racing season! Simmons Crew captured medals this fall and competed in several races, including the world renowned Head of the Charles Regatta. This issue of Simmons Rows On highlights some exciting HOCR recaps, results, and news. We hope you were able to make it down to the river to cheer on Simmons.


We're excited four this year's Head of the Charles Regatta because Simmons 4+s will be racing both Saturday and Sunday! Saturday will feature the alumnae/i boat as bow #15 in the Women's Alumnae Fours event at 11:49AM, and the collegiate boat will race on Sunday at 2:58PM as bow #33 in the Women's Collegiate Fours event.

Friends of Sharks Crew is also excited to highlight the Ukrainian National Rowing Team who will be making their debut at this year's Head of the Charles. Organized by Simmons Crew coach Andrii Ivanchuk, a former member of the National Team, the Ukrainians will be competing in numerous events including the Championship Eights and in a youth 4+. “It’s important for Ukrainians to use any platform to remind people that the war is still going and that Ukraine is still fighting,” said Ivanchuk. Check out the Boston Globe article on the team's journey to HOCR.

For the most up to date start times, results, and more, please visit Head of the Charles on Regatta Central.


Have you been looking for a way to get involved with Friends of Sharks Crew, connect with the community, or support the Simmons Crew Team? Here's your chance! The Friends of Sharks Crew Leadership Team is accepting applications now through Friday, September 30th!

The Leadership Team is the executive volunteer board behind Friends of Sharks Crew working to achieve its mission. Members of the Leadership Team are alumnae/i, parents, or other individuals with a significant tie to Simmons Crew and are dedicated to fostering the FSC community and supporting the Simmons Rowing Team. Members attend regular virtual Team meetings, maintain individual projects, and work collaboratively to push FSC to its fullest extent. As a newly-formed and actively-expanding group, Friends of Sharks Crew and its Leadership Team offer a unique opportunity to take on an influential role in a developing and collaborative initiative.

Check out open positions and submit an application via our website! We hope you will consider joining us in this effort.


Autumn is here, and so is fall racing! We're looking forward to Simmons Crew's return to the river, Head of the Charles, and so much more this season. Among many exciting things, we're thrilled to announce the Friends of Sharks Crew Leadership Team!



DC Strokes, an LGBTQ+-dedicated rowing club based in Washington DC, is leading calls for USRowing to change its selection of Sarasota, Florida for the location of the Masters National Championships in response to the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. USRowing’s decision to hold the Masters National Championships in Florida contradicts their organizational goal of "[exemplifying] diversity, equity and inclusion in the sport of rowing at all levels" by asking "USRowing members to provide revenue to a state advancing anti-LGBTQ+ policies that undermine the rights and humanity of so many of our rowers around the country" (USRowing Announces Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee; DC Strokes).

“While USRowing has taken rhetorical steps in recent years to support and encourage the acceptance of LGBTQ+ rowers with published statements, online forums, and social media, its conscious decision to hold 2022’s Masters National Championships in Florida shows that the organization is more interested in protecting its bottom line than the health, safety, and well-being of its LGBTQ+ rowers” (DC Strokes).

Several rowing clubs, organizations, and individuals have signed DC Strokes’ letter in support of calling upon USRowing to move the Masters National Championships out of Florida. As the alum organization for Simmons Crew, which has included countless LGBTQ+ individuals since its founding in 1978, we are adding Friends of Sharks Crew’s name to this list of signatory support. We share this statement with you in a stance of solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community members. If you feel inclined to add your name as an individual or further share DC Strokes’ letter, please find the call linked here.


School's out! Check out issue 7 of Simmons Rows On for spring season highlights, to meet one of Simmons Crew's newest alums, and for a discount on the FSC fan store!


Friends of Sharks Crew is appalled by USRowing's upcoming "Cis Girl Junior USRowing Members Only Zoom on Transgender and Gender Diverse Athlete Participation Policy". A part of an ongoing series of Zoom sessions for members to share feedback on USRowing's Transgender and Gender Diverse Athlete Policy, we condemn this unacceptable act.

Brought to light by the Transgender Rowers Association, USRowing plans to host a Zoom session exclusively for cisgender girls to discuss policy impacting transgender athletes. As trans individuals, including thousands of trans youth, continue to be attacked and stripped of their rights across the country, USRowing should be a place trans rowers can go to for support. It is unacceptable to host a protected space for cis athletes to speak about trans and gender nonconforming athletes and the policies affecting them, and this Zoom session is a failure of USRowing's recently-formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the overall organization's commitment to its trans athletes. 

Trans people, including every trans and gender nonconforming Simmons Crew team member, past, present, and future, are sacred. There is no acceptable world in which trans athletes can be excluded from a space in which cis athletes will be discussing them and policies that directly target them. 

Friends of Sharks Crew affirms our commitment to our trans and gender nonconforming siblings. We call upon USRowing to immediately cancel this Zoom session, issue an explicit apology to trans USRowing members recognizing this failure and its harm to the trans community, and consider the makeup of USRowing's DEI Committee and leadership. This is a mistake that should have never been able to move past the idea phase, much less make it into reality. 

If you feel inclined to take action, please email Jennie Trayes, USRowing's Chief Community Engagement Officer, at Jennie.Trayes@usrowing.org opposing this call.


For nearly 30 years, Simmons Crew has proudly rowed under the direction of Ukrainian leadership; first with Nikolay Kurmakov, a Ukrainian and Soviet Union National Rowing champion, and now with Andrii Ivanchuk, a multi-time champion for the Ukrainian National Team. Though a coincidence, it is not lost on us that we race in the same colors as the nation's flag. Our community holds a unique tie to Ukraine, and Friends of Sharks Crew stands in solidarity with the country as they battle the ongoing Russian military invasion.

In recognition of Simmons Crew's connection to Ukraine, Assistant Coach Jenn Thomas and the team's captains have organized efforts to support Sunflower of Peace, a Boston based 501(c)(3) providing medical assistance to Ukrainian orphans and humanitarian aid that will be used by paramedics and doctors in the areas that are affected by the violence. 

Please consider supporting this effort by making a contribution to Sunflower of Peace in honor of coaches Andrii and Nik. Though we are not able to make a designated group donation as Simmons Crew, Jenn and the captains hope to have a final tally of individuals who have supported. This final tally, in addition to a Ukrainian flag being hung in the erg room, will be presented to Coach Andrii this Friday, March 4th as a surprise. If you make a gift, please send us an email so that we can count you in the tally; no need to include the amount of your gift, just a note that you made one!

In addition, all proceeds from Friends of Sharks Crew apparel purchased through Friday will be donated to Sunflower of Peace as part of this effort.

Thank you in advance for your meaningful support to Ukraine in honor of Andrii, Nik, and their families.


Happy 2022, Friends of Sharks Crew! Check out issue 6 of Simmons Rows On now!


Thanks to the support of our community, we raised over $10,000 for the Simmons Crew Team in 2021! Here's to a happy and healthy holiday season and new year.


That's a wrap on Simmons Crew's fall season! Check out issue 5 of Simmons Rows On now for fall highlights.


Happy Head of the Charles!

Simmons Crew will be racing both days this weekend. Saturday will feature the alumnae boat as bow #23 in the Women's Alumnae Eights event at 11:46AM, and the collegiate boat will race on Sunday at 2:39PM as bow #21 in the Women's Collegiate Eights event. For the most up to date start times, results, and more, please visit Head of the Charles on Regatta Central.

If you'll be joining us for our Sunday event, we look forward to seeing you there. If not, we hope to hear you on the river!


Thanks to the generous support of our community during yesterday's Match Day, we not only achieved our match goal but we've also surpassed our fundraising goal of $5,000! As of today, we've raised $8,555 for Simmons Crew! 

If you haven't yet donated, it's not too late to do so! Fundraising will remain open until October 31st. All gifts are restricted to use by the Crew Team.

Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you this HOCR weekend!


One year ago today, we launched Friends of Sharks Crew. For nearly a year before our launch, we worked closely with Coach Nikolay Kurmakov to bring his vision of an alumni group to life. Those of us who were lucky enough to know Nik would agree that he was a person who deeply valued relationships, and the relationships of the Simmons Crew community were no exception. Long before FSC, Nik had envisioned an effort that would connect the four decades of Simmons Crew athletes and support the future of team that ties us all together. Rowing opportunities, social gatherings, fundraising efforts. Following the 2019 Head of the Charles, he even shared his plans to invite alumni to Miami Beach during the team's spring training for a fun, laid-back time on the water (and to party, seriously!). This was something Nik had pictured for years. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and turned all of our lives upside down, work on Friends of Sharks Crew paused. Several months went by and the project sat on a back shelf as Simmons University shut down all in-person learning and activities, including the Crew Team. But as we learned to adapt to the ongoing upheaval and uncertainty, one thing became very apparent: relationships and community persevered through it all. And what better time would there be to introduce Friends of Sharks Crew than during a time we were all searching for positivity and connections?

We, Clarice and Elsbeth, began the work on Friends of Sharks Crew again. Many late evenings were spent planning and building and drafting, but this time it was without the assistance of Nik as we planned for the launch on October 1st to be a surprise.

Tragically, as we know, Friends of Sharks Crew's launch date would also turn out to be the day of Nik's passing. But by some bittersweet act of fate, Nik did see his long-envisioned alumni group come to life; FSC's announcement was read on his phone about an hour before he passed. It is painful and ironic that for the year our community began to connect in ways we never had before, it was without one of our pillars. Nik will always remain a cornerstone of the Simmons Crew family and we are thankful for the ways he has touched so many of our lives.

Today, in honor of both Friends of Sharks Crew's first year and the anniversary of Coach Nik's death, all gifts made to Simmons Crew will be matched dollar for dollar up to $1000 by a generous anonymous alumni. Please join us in supporting the future of the Simmons Crew Team by making a gift today. All gifts are restricted to use by the Crew Team.

Thank you for one year of community, support, and remembrance. We hope to see you this HOCR weekend.


Join your favorite team in celebrating this year's Head of the Charles!
Check out issue 4 of Simmons Rows On now!


We are so excited to share that registration is now open for this October's Simmons HOCR event! We'll be gathering on Simmons University's campus on Sunday, October 24th for a social gathering before heading down to the river to cheer on the collegiate boat. This will be such an exciting opportunity for our community to celebrate Simmons Crew and Head of the Charles after such a challenging year and a half. Register today to let us know you'll be joining us!

Our Simmons Alumni 8+ will also be racing in HOCR on Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m. EDT. The Alumni 8+ is fundraising towards a collective goal of $5,000 for the Simmons Crew Team in memory of Coach Nikolay Kurmakov. We invite you to support their efforts with a gift to the team.

We hope to see you this October!


Simmons Athletics has announced to Friends of Sharks Crew its selection of Simmons Crew’s new Head and Novice Coaches.

Just this week, Simmons Athletics completed the Crew Coaches hiring process, selecting Andrii Ivanchuck for the role of Head Crew Coach and Jen Thomas as the full-time Novice Crew Coach.

Andrii Ivanchuck is highly regarded by his peers and references. His knowledge base for teaching, motivating, and coaching comes from his own experience as a competitor at a high international level, and is greatly informed by more recent experiences working with high school age girls in the Miami area. While in Miami, he led his team to win silver and bronze medals at Club Nationals.

His colleagues describe Andrii as a team player, reliable, creative, and open to learning new ways and ideas. Andrii was Coach Nik’s personal choice for the position prior to his passing. 

Jenn Thomas comes to Simmons having coached at the high school and Division I and Division III collegiate levels. She was a rower at Endicott College in Beverly, MA before a back injury ended her collegiate athlete career. Jen has extensive recruiting experience and maintains strong connections across the country.

Previously a part-time position, Jen’s role as the full-time Novice Coach will bring stability to the Simmons Crew program, enhancing recruitment of Simmons’ First Years as well as providing more time for support for Crew athletes.

The combination of Andrii and Jen will support the Crew Team in maintaining a strong and positive team dynamic, and will develop Simmons Crew into a competitive force in the NEWMAC conference and across New England. They will grow the program roster through focused recruitment across the country, enacting University and Athletics Department goals of growing athlete numbers with a focus on increasing and supporting diversity.

Andrii will start at Simmons on July 1, and Jen comes on board August 1.


Mark your calendars and brush off your unis for HOCR weekend! Check out issue 3 of Simmons Rows On now!


We are very excited to announce that planning has begun for Friends of Sharks Crew's very first event, and we are looking for individuals interested in getting involved! This is your chance to connect with other members and to leave your mark on FSC.

If you'd like to get involved, or for more info, send us an email at friendsofsharkscrew@gmail.com by Friday, April 16th.

Stay safe and healthy!


We know you've been waiting for this! Check out issue 2 of Simmons Rows On now!


The Friends of Sharks Crew newsletter is here! Check out Issue One for Simmons Athletics' plans for Spring 2021, community news, and to meet Simmons Crew's very first alum!



We're celebrating this Throwback Thursday with the launch of Friends of Sharks Crew's image gallery!

We love our history and there's no better way to re-live it than with old photos of teammates, friends, and memories. So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Friends of Sharks Crew gallery to check out our 1970s through 2000s albums, as well as our event and alumni racing photos!

We're still growing our gallery, so why not help us out by submitting your own images? Shoot us an email with your photos (or videos!) to let the rest of the crew enjoy some of your favorite memories.

Happy #tbt-ing!


Please join us this Saturday, October 24th for Riverside Boat Club's boat bay dedication and memorial in honor of Nik. Guests are welcome to attend in-person while following COVID safety guidelines or virtually via Zoom. Details as follows:

10:30AM Riverside Boat Bay Dedication
10:45AM Remember and Honor Nikolay
11:30AM Procession through the Boat Bay

Riverside Boat Club
769 Memorial Drive
Cambridge MA 02139

Guests attending in-person will be asked to stand on the grass on either side of the boathouse. Only speakers will be permitted on the docks. Please wear a mask and follow social distancing measures.

Zoom link: https://simmons.zoom.us/j/95997749552

Please find below information regarding services for Nik.

There will be a walk-through viewing with a maximum of 20 people inside the funeral home at any time. Please keep a mask on at all times.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 10AM - 12PM
Bell O'Dell Funeral Home
376 Washington Street
Brookline MA 02445

Burial Service
The burial service will be open to as many as would like to attend, as it is outdoors and social distancing will be possible. Please keep a mask on at all times.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020 12PM - 3PM
Walnut Hills Cemetery
96 Grove Street
Brookline MA 02467

In lieu of flowers, the Kurmakov family asks for support of Nikolay's passion for rowing with a donation to:
Simmons University Friends for Simmons Crew
In honor/memory: Nik Kurmakov
Please include in comments: Boathouse vision


To our dear Friends of Sharks Crew,

It is difficult to say that this is the last email we expected to be sending as our first communication because it is frankly one we never expected to send, especially so soon. Simmons Crew's beloved Head Coach of nearly thirty years, Nikolay Kurmakov, passed away yesterday afternoon.

To say that we are devastated is an understatement. Nik touched the lives of so many, leaving us all with memories and lessons that will last a lifetime. He cared deeply for his rowers both at Simmons and of the Women's Sweeps Team at Riverside Boat Club, always going above and beyond what anyone would expect from a coach. He was the heart of Simmons Crew and will be terribly missed.

We began plans for Friends of Sharks Crew nearly a year ago, working closely with Nik for several months to make both his and our vision of a Simmons Crew alumni association a reality. Together, we pictured alumni gatherings, rowing opportunities and races, fundraising towards Simmons Crew's own bay at Riverside Boat Club, and even the chance to join the team's annual spring training trip in Miami Beach for some lighthearted rowing and to simply have a fun time (that last part was entirely Nik's idea). And though the irony of FSC's launch date could not have been worse, we are thankful for the opportunity to bring his vision to life. Nik passed approximately an hour after the launch of Friends of Sharks Crew.

During this painful and challenging time, please consider joining us tonight at 7PM EST for a Zoom memorial to share memories of Coach Nik, hosted by the Simmons Crew Team.

We are sending love and condolences to all who have been affected by Nik's passing. Thank you for your support of Nik's vision of Friends of Sharks Crew.



At the Simmons Crew 40th Anniversary Gala, the statement of one guest that stuck with us long after the night ended was "This is the first time I've seen most of my teammates since we graduated. I can't believe how much I've missed this community."

For nearly a year after that evening, we kept asking ourselves: How are we supposed to move on from the friends-turned-family and sport-turned-community who we shared our lives with for four years? How do we say goodbye to our former teammates who move across the country? Or the coaches we lose contact with over the years? How does something that was once so central to our identities become something of the past? And then we realized: None of that has to happen.

Witnessing the laughter, tears, and reunions of friends who had not seen each other since their last time in a Simmons boat inspired us to find a way to support connections long after graduation. Today, we are excited to formally announce Friends of Sharks Crew. A community of alumni, parents, coaches, and other supporters, Friends of Sharks Crew aims to foster continued Simmons Crew relationships and to encourage maintenance of the university's rowing program at the highest possible level of excellence.

So what can you expect from us? Newsletters, photos, updates on the current team, rowing opportunities and events (when it's safe to do so!), and a whole lot more. Whether you graduated in 1978 or 2018, you are a part of Simmons Crew's history and we want you to stay connected. What are you waiting for? Check out our website, subscribe to our mailing list, and get ready to say hi to your newest old friends! Ready all...

- Clarice Johnson '18 & Elsbeth Colson '19, FSC founders

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Friends of Sharks Crew