84th Annual Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta Program Book

Thomas Jefferson University’s Women’s rowing head coach Michiel Bartman often jokes he has the best office in town (and maybe the country)—the famed Boathouse Row. “I believe Philadelphia is the rowing capital of the United States,” he says. The 55-year-old coach speaks from experience. Bartman has spent a better part of his life on the water, competitively racing on the world’s largest stages. As a longtime member of the Dutch National Team, he helped lead the Netherlands to Olympic gold in the 1996 Atlanta games. Bartman also earned silvers in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics. He now has his sights set on the upcoming Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta. One of the nation’s biggest collegiate rowing events, it attracts some 100 schools from across the United States. This will be Bartman’s first time coaching the Rams at Dad Vail. He joined Jefferson last year, succeeding Chris O’Brien as the second women’s rowing head coach in program history. Bartman came to Jefferson after serving as an assistant coach at Temple University for three years. During Bartman’s tenure with the Owls, the school won four Dad Vail medals, including a varsity eight bronze at the 2021 regatta, the first medal by the team’s top boat since 1999. Bartman’s collegiate coaching experience also includes stints as the head men’s and women’s lightweight coach at Harvard University. After leading larger teams of 50 to 60 rowers, Bartman prefers to coach a smaller squad of about 25 Jefferson student-athletes, who row out of the historic Crescent Boat Club on Kelly Drive. “It’s more fun to work with them because the rowers receive more individual attention,” he says. “Along with my two great assistants, Jeff Culter and alumna Sarah Doelp, we can help them grow and become better athletes.” Health sciences student Maggie Sher says Bartman has helped her view rowing differently: “It’s beneficial that he focuses on our personal improvement as well as just being 1% better every day. I can tell he cares for each rower as a person and an athlete.” Olympic Gold Medalist Michiel Bartman brings decades of experience to Jefferson. RAMSROWING by Mike Bederka, Senior Manager, News and Media, Thomas Jefferson University Photo credit: Christopher Dantonio