WES Declares Claire Collins ’11 Day as Olympian Returns Home to Speak to Students

Claire Collins ’11, an alumna of Washington Episcopal School (WES) who made Olympic history this summer, will return to her alma mater on Friday, October 15, at 1 p.m. to speak to its students about setting big goals, being a good teammate, and having fun. Last summer, for the first time in Olympic rowing history, there were an equal number of women’s and men’s rowing events, as the women’s coxless four (Ms. Collins’ team) replaced the lightweight men’s four in the rowing program.

“Last summer, WES ‘lifer’ and graduate Claire Collins ’11 did something no other alumni of our school has ever done: she added Olympian to her name,” said Danny Vogelman, head of school at WES.  “We have proclaimed this Friday, Oct. 15, as Claire Collins ’11 Day to celebrate her homecoming.”

Friday’s schedule of events will be as follows:

  • 1 p.m.: Ms. Collins arrives on campus and is greeted by WES Athletic Director Bill Isola and cheering students on the colonnade at the front of the school.
  • 1:05 p.m.: Ms. Collins tours the school and visits former teachers in the WES Admissions Suite.
  • 1:25 p.m. Ms. Collins proceeds to the Turf Field and speaks to the students. You can view the event live via Zoom HERE. (In the event of inclement weather, Grades 5-8 will attend in the Gym and the rest of the students will view via Zoom in their homerooms.)
  • 2 p.m.: Conclusion of the program. 

“My journey to become a U.S. Olympic Rower started long before I even knew about the sport of rowing,” Ms. Collins said. “Athletics was definitely a passion of mine from the time I was young, and WES provided opportunities for me to learn how to balance my competitiveness with being a good teammate. Also, the creativity I learned in the arts, the collaboration I learned in the intimate classroom settings, and the exposure to new ideas through WES’s study trips set me up to become a leader and become confident in whatever pathway I was going to pursue.”

While at WES, Ms. Collins played on three sports teams in Grades 5-8 (soccer, basketball, and lacrosse), played the violin and trumpet, and was the recipient of the Spirit Award, the Dexter R. Davison Music Award (band), and the Coaches’ Award. After she graduated from WES in 2011, she attended Deerfield Academy, where she was on the volleyball, swim, and rowing teams for all four years. She went on to Princeton University, graduating in 2019 with a degree in economics. She received Princeton’s 2019 top female athlete award and was a three-time All American and four-time All-Ivy recipient, also earning medals in the World Rowing Championships for Princeton.