This is on the website for Saint Mary’s College – “Gael is a fierce thing within, a force to be reckoned with—you might even say, a Gael Force.” 

“A Gael is traditionally an Irish warrior, representing the power of passion and hard work, two qualities that run deep within each member of our student body. The ever-ready Gael (energy-packed, smiling, cheering, you could even say “gael-ing,”) embodies the spirit that makes Saint Mary’s community vibrant and fun—dedicated to our community and the larger world.” (

Little do they know that a Viking is about to enter their midst. One whose blood has spilled for her teammates. One who has felt the Berserker’s fury and changed the face of Viking Crew and East Lyme High School. Fiona Samuelson has established herself in this place as a leader, a conscientious citizen, a ground-breaking journalist, a superior athlete and friend to many. She will truly be an asset to the Saint Mary’s community. 

Fiona has made Viking Crew her own. Having become captain of her team in her junior year, she continues her great leadership into this her senior year. She gives everything she has to our program and is a model of excellence for her rowers and fellow students. I know she will bring Viking Crew to great success in her steadfast dedication to every winter workout – pushing hers and her peer’s endurance – in preparation for this coming season – her last as a Viking.  

And as I have said for others who have continued their rowing careers beyond our humble Pattagansett Lake, for seniors, starting in the fall of their final high school year, I speak of “lasts” – the last head race, the last erg boot camp, the last predictor workout. And come this spring, Fiona will also close the chapter on a great rowing career in Viking Crew. But she has earned her way to a new chapter in her education and rowing story as she signs on with Saint Mary’s Gaels. As she has done for us, she will raise the bar of excellence in that program. I know she will thrive there and give the Gaels the Viking blood that runs through her now. 

Good luck, Fiona! Gaels Rise! 

Posted in