Mykaila Meunier: Courageous Crew Captain
Mykaila Meunier ’22 is an essential member of the Girls Varsity Crew team, serving as co-captain this season with Nana Donderful-Amos ’22.
Meunier joined the Hopkins crew team freshman year. She said, “I remember hearing about Hop crew at one of the open houses I went to as an eighth grader, and was totally ecstatic that I could join the team. I wanted to give crew a shot since not many high schools have this program available to them. I went into the spring season as a coxswain, although I had no clue what I was doing. I also was willing to row, but there weren’t as many coxswains so it worked out.” Starting off, Meunier claimed that it was a little intimidating, but support from the upperclassmen eased her worries: “Although I was new and didn’t really know much, I looked forward to practicing every day.”
When asked what she enjoyed about crew, Meunier said, “Rowing makes the spring ten times better; so much hard work gets put into a 5-6 minute race and even though the rowers are near total exhaustion it looks so beautiful and is so rewarding. Hop Crew is the closest team I have ever been on. Although there is a girls and guys team, we come together for team dinners and sometimes row together as well. There is no social divide between the novices and experienced rowers, which I think is extremely beneficial given that Hop has so many JV and Varsity sports.”
Meunier acts as one of the several coxswains on Hopkins crew. Her responsibility as coxswain is to direct and guide the boat throughout the race. Meunier says, “I am the eyes and mind of the boat, giving directions and coaching the rowers through the races. I keep them on pace and synchronized.” Meunier thoroughly enjoys her position as coxswain, stating that “I’m very grateful to have been able to cox so any boats on the team. I started off with the novice girls my first year but moved up to G1 as a sub and the years after I have been in G1.” Coach Becca Marcus complimented Meunier’s skill and experience coxing:, saying, “The key to a good coxswain is that they’re connected to what the coach is going to expect. Mykaila is always anticipating what I want and asking the right questions. She makes smart moves on race day, knows her crew, and executes perfectly every time. Mykaila has been a valuable leader of our team bringing both experience and positivity to practice every day.”
As captain, it’s Meunier’s responsibility to act as both mentor and friend for her teammates. Fellow coxswain Julia DiMiceli ’25 stated, “I joined crew this year, and Mykaila has been an awesome role model and mentor from the start. She has had much more experience coxing than I have, and she has been more than willing to give me advice and help when I needed it.” Hanna Jennings ’24 agreed, saying, “I look up to Mykaila so much, both as a coxswain and as a person. I wouldn’t be where I am as a coxswain without her guidance and friendship.”
When asked about the pressures of being captain, Meunier said “Being a cox has its own set of responsibilities, but then to add captaincy on top of that... it’s a lot. However, it is so worth it all. I feel like a big sister (and sometimes mom) to both the girls and guys team.” Co-captain Nana Donderful-Amos ’22 stated, “Mykaila is definitely a joy to co-captain with. She makes everyone laugh and never fails to make people’s day. Even when the weather conditions are bad and steering is very difficult for her, she keeps her composure and never crumbles under pressure.”
The Hopkins crew team has a powerful bond. Meunier said, “Coming on to the team as a freshman was scary since I thought most of the people would be experienced rowers, however, that was not the case. A lot of my grade came onto the team with no experience. We all quickly developed a strong admiration for crew and many of us continued in the off-season.” Next year, Meunier will attend the University of Rochester and cox for Rochester’s Girls Varsity Crew team.