Acton, Newton rowers help Wellesley College win NCAA Division III championship

The row to the championship began with tears, an extended layoff and a “meters challenge.”

Wellesley College canceled all spring sports in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns. Kaity Severin’s wrist surgery last year kept the Newton resident even farther from the dock, ruling out any chance to train.

Her return to rowing coincided with the last summer’s first team workout, a 5-kilometer time trial. Severin sat down and pulled her slowest time for the distance. The time off may have been “crushing,” but the 5K performance flattened her.

Wellesley College's Kaylee Liu, center, of Acton, celebrates the team's NCAA Division III national championship on May 28.

“I spent the rest of the day crying,” the rising Wellesley junior said. “I had my pity party. And then I was like, ‘this is not the rower I want to be.'”

Severin pulled again. One meter at a time. Rowing, running, swimming, biking. All part of the team’s summer challenge to train and gain the most meters, no matter the discipline.

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