Fiona Murtagh is a senior on the Rowing team. She has really done it all in her Fordham career and beyond. Murtagh came to the Bronx from her home town of Galway, Ireland, where she was a part of the Irish national team. Since coming to Fordham, she has broken school records in the Women’s 2k and 6k. More recently, she has been pivotal in the Varsity 8’s success thus far in the spring season.
The Fordham Ram: What were your goals coming into the spring season?
Fiona Murtagh: We were very excited going into this season, especially with such success in the fall. As a team, we have spent a lot of time coming together assessing what we need to do both on and off the water in order to maintain a high level of training. Having been given the opportunity to race in San Diego due to our fall success, we knew we had to be fully prepared earlier into our season than expected. With such a large team, it’s important to create both team goals that we strive towards as well as personal goals for continuous motivation. Collectively, we wanted to make a statement early in our season, show others that Fordham was not a team to be overlooked. The potential to do damage this year, especially at A-10s and Dad Vails, is higher than ever and we don’t want to miss out on those opportunities. We knew we had to keep up our standards during the pre-season and always keep our goals in sight.
TFR: The Varsity 8 has found plenty of success early on. What has been the key to success?
FM: The Murphy Cup win for the V8 was a fantastic way to start the season off. It gave us the confidence we needed to go into the San Diego Crew Classics the following week which is a very competitive regatta. We were the fastest A-10 team V8 at the Classics. Our early success has been down to a great dynamic within the boat. Each and every one of us has worked hard to earn our seat in the top boat and the results are showing. Our spring break training camp in Virginia gave us the opportunity to put a lot of mileage in and develop our speed early. Training alongside a highly competitive Second Varsity 8 every day keeps us on our toes, and they have been an important contribution to our success.
TFR: What regatta down the line this year looks the toughest?
FM: We will have to have consistently strong racing in both A-10s and Dad Vails for medal contention. With just two and three weeks until A-10s and Dad Vails respectively, we are working hard on the water every day for peak performance come May. The focus and motivation within the team is right where it needs to be and we look forward to proving what we are capable of.
TFR: Switching gears to talk a little bit about you and your background, how has the adjustment been coming from Ireland?
FM: I thank Fordham Rowing for my adjustment. To be part of such a supportive group made the transition less stressful and more enjoyable than anything else. I haven’t been as homesick as I thought I would during my time here because there has always been something to do. The team culture of Fordham Rowing is one I have greatly appreciated and will always admire. These girls over the last three years took me in, a literal foreigner to both Fordham and America, and showed me what being a Ram is all about. The upperclassmen on our team have been amazing at making freshmen and transfers feel like they belong here, from helping them adjust to the team dynamic, to showing them the perks of having New York City at our fingertips.
TFR: How have your experiences with the national team shaped your Fordham career?
FM: Experience on the Irish national team from a relatively young age has taught me that every day is an opportunity to gain boat speed. It has made me a more determined athlete, providing me with valuable international racing experience. I’ve used my experience to help my team at Fordham hold themselves to a high level of rowing. Having learned the sport from a different rowing culture I was able to bring in new concepts and ideas to the team that were new to most.
TFR: You’ve broken many records here at Fordham. What do they mean to you?
FM: I am fortunate to be able to say that I currently hold both the Open Women’s 2k and 6k [ergometer] records at Fordham, an achievement that has taken endless hours of hard work. These records are my reminder that anything is possible if you’re determined enough. Records are made to be broken, I’d like to think that mine will be used as motivation for this team next year or in years to come to reach a higher standard. Being still in season and with more testing coming up, I’m currently focused on breaking the 2k score again and creating a higher platform for myself and my team.
TFR: Do you have any regrets about your Fordham career coming to a close?
FM: It’s most definitely bittersweet being a senior. I’ve learned more about myself, both as an individual and as an athlete, since being at Fordham, and I consider myself lucky to have been given such an opportunity. I’m going to miss seeing these girls every day, but I’m excited to graduate and begin a new chapter of my life in Boston.