This past fall, new head rowing coach Ms. Wendy Bordeau welcomed an eager team of twenty three athletes to Vermont Academy Crew -- and only three of the rowers had prior experience. Bordeau turned this group of novices into rowers and racers in just two months and looks back fondly on the season. “We had so much fun out there! We learned the basics and developed a hunger for racing. We learned how to work hard and how to make boats go fast. Most importantly, the process brought together a group of teenagers who probably wouldn’t interact much on campus and turned them into a real team. That’s the beauty of the sport.”
Bordeau came to VA after a twenty year career in DI collegiate athletics, both as a rowing coach and senior administrator, most recently just upriver at Dartmouth College. Excited for a new challenge and eager to work with younger athletes, Bordeau welcomed the opportunity to hop into the VA coaching launch and grow this young team.
Bordeau harbors a deep passion and gratitude for the sport and for her first high school rowing coach, Elfriede Tillman. “I was lucky enough to be pulled out of the school lunch line by a committed coach who was willing to take a chance on this would-be athlete. I had tried everything -- basketball, softball, volleyball -- and to be honest, I was terrible at all of it!”
Bordeau remembers her very first day on the water as a magical, transformative moment, “I was hooked instantly.” She was ultimately recruited to row and study at Princeton University, where she captained crew and graduated magna cum laude. Her competitive drive propelled her into coaching after graduation and she has never looked back.
“I love teaching and mentoring young people. Doing it while coaching the sport I love, surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty? It’s my dream job.”