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Courtesy: Duke Photography
Rowing Announces 2014-15 Team Captains
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 07/30/2014
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DURHAM, N.C. – Seniors Tara Dalton, Claire Vannelli and Caroline Williams will captain the Duke rowing team in 2014-15, head coach Robyn Horner announced Wednesday. Those three were voted to captaincy by their teammates.

The three Blue Devils competed with Duke’s varsity eight in 2013 and helped the program crack the CRCA/US Rowing Top 20 for the second straight year. The Blue Devils placed fifth out of eight at the ACC Championships in a powerhouse field that included five top-20 programs.

Dalton is a 5-10 native of Woodlands, Texas, who has rowed in Duke’s top boat since her freshman year. She has twice been a part of ACC Crew of the Week boats during her career and is pursuing her undergraduate degree in neuroscience with a minor in chemistry and biology.

Vannelli, a 5-11 native of London, Ontario, has also been a part of Duke’s varsity eight since her freshman year. She is a two-time CRCA Scholar-Athlete and has also earned All-ACC Academic honors during her Duke career. Vannelli is studying biomedical engineering with a minor in English.

Williams is a 5-9 native of Raleigh, N.C., that has worked her way up from Duke’s novice boat as a freshman to the varsity eight as a junior. A volleyball player at Raleigh Charter High School, Williams joined the team as a walk-on for the 2011-12 season. She has since gone on to earn ACC Academic Honor Roll honors while studying civil and environmental engineering.

Get to Know The 2014-15 Duke Rowing Captains

Tara Dalton
Woodlands, Texas (Woodlands)

What are you studying and what are your career aspirations?
I’m studying neuroscience and minoring in chemistry and biology. I hope to take a year to do research in the field of biochemistry and then apply to medical school to pursue my goal of becoming a physician.

What is special about being a student-athlete at Duke?
I absolutely love being a student athlete at Duke. It has been the best experience I could have possibly imagined. There is such a community here among all of the athletes and staff that strives towards excellence and supports each other on and off the field.

Describe your experience with the Duke CAPE (Collegiate Athlete Pre-Medical Experience) program?
The CAPE program has been a very important part of my experience as a student-athlete. I joined freshman year when I was initially starting my pre-med courses, and received such support through the challenge of balancing a difficult course load with athletics. This summer I have been doing an internship at the Duke Hospital through the program, which has allowed me to shadow physicians in all different specialties and explore what I might like to eventually go into.

As a captain, what goals do you have for the team this season?
I would like to see our team really challenge the new additions to the ACC this year. It was quite a change having Notre Dame and Syracuse at ACC's this past spring, and now we will have Louisville, another fast squad joining us. Our conference is getting very competitive, so it will be exciting to see us keep pressing forward.

We also have some great fall scrimmages to look forward to at our home course, so I would love to see the team have lots of fun with that. We should have lots of speed come this fall, so it will be exciting to see how we match up with other schools, and hopefully we can really dominate.

Claire Vannelli
London, Ontario (Brentwood College School)

What are you studying and what are your career aspirations?
I am entering my fourth year studying biomedical engineering (major) and English (minor). I want to work in medicine, particularly with developments in electrophysiology and medical devices. I have a few ideas of what this will look like; for example Lauren Musso (BME & Rowing ’15) & I want to develop technology that harnesses energy generated by ergometers, treadmills, spin bikes etc. and convert it to a renewable energy source while promoting fitness & a healthy lifestyle.

What is special about being a student-athlete at Duke?
When it comes to combining academic and athletic excellence, there is no better place than Duke. Facilities and opportunities aside, it is the people that I am surrounded by every day that make this experience unlike another. I am constantly challenged to be a better person by the zealous and brilliant individuals on campus. Limits are constantly pushed and expectations are supposed to be exceeded— it is in this determined atmosphere that we can find success, in the classroom and on the water.

Describe your experience with the Duke CAPE (Collegiate Athlete Pre-Medical Experience) program?
As with most programs offered at Duke, CAPE provides unprecedented skill development and leadership opportunities. It encourages us to think critically about the role of a health care provider, to muster the courage to interface with patients while taking a history and performing a neurological exam, while providing exposure to nearly every area in medicine so we can see where we fit best. As well, TK has been a phenomenal resource and source of support for everyone in the program.

As a captain, what goals do you have for the team this season?
Three years ago, the freshman class of DWR made a pact that we wouldn’t graduate until our team qualified for NCAAs. Since then, our class has only grown in size, strength and determination as we enter our last year as the largest senior class DWR has ever had. Since our first day at Duke, we have been committed to that overarching goal and have made huge strides in the direction we want to go. This year we have a dynamite group of freshman, strong sophomore leaders and driven, hardworking juniors. This year we hope to reach our athletic potential as individuals and as one unit. Our team will be making waves on and off the water, and I’m excited to be a part of that.

Caroline Williams
Raleigh, N.C. (Raleigh Charter)

What are you studying and what are your career aspirations?
I'm studying Civil and Environmental Engineering so I'm spending the summer working at the NCDOT trying to figure out what it is that civil engineers do. I was initially attracted to engineering because to me the design process is a logical way of problem solving. I would like to continue on once I graduate and practice engineering and someday get my PE, but as of now I'm still very open to which specialized area I would like to work in.

What is special about being a student-athlete at Duke?
Being a Duke student-athlete has given me an amazing community of people that I would not have had the opportunity to meet had I not started rowing. Just on the rowing team alone I'm always amazed and humbled when I think about how many diverse people there are on one team and how even though we may enjoy our off-water time differently we can still come together and work towards a common goal.

As a captain, what goals do you have for the team this season?
Our team works very hard and as a captain I want us to start realizing the goals that we set for ourselves. As a rower I have noticed and appreciated that our team is very good at clearly defining and voicing the visions and goals that we want to achieve. After that direction has been established it is time for implementation. My goal as a captain is to help create a motivating athletic environment that will set us up for future success. These wheels have already been set in motion with the Head of the Charles carrot to encourage all of us in our summer training. However, it is when we return to school that the captains and our team will have to work to establish a culture that is dynamic, dedicated, and determined.