The Team

The ARION team is comprised of up to 18 athletes, 3 coaches, and the SRA community.

Good friends in the extra mile

Recognizing the roller coaster journey that is elite rowing.  ARION strives to embrace the idea of good friends in the extra mile.  We believe that gains live in the extra mile, and it should be a fun adventure in those spaces.  Having friends alongside pushing us, carrying us, and relying on us enhances the experience

 ARION rowing is a team experience and we consider our team to be all who are on the journey.  Our theme on this journey is gratitude and vulnerability, in all things we are grateful for the community behind us, we are grateful for the friends alongside us, and we are grateful for the competitors who push us.  With all that to be grateful for, we are also willing to be vulnerable and put our best selves out there without excuse or safety net.  We practice and we train and we race - vulnerable to failure, frustration, or whatever is thrown our way and grateful that our team is there by our side.  We believe our best selves are not achieved if there are parts of us that are held back and left unexamined and we believe our team is at its best when grateful and vulnerable with each other

ARION Coaches

The ARION program is coached by Eric "Cat" Catalano.  Cat has coached inside the USA Jr Development system and has also taken trials boats to World Championships.  Cat began coaching the fledgling club of Saratoga Rowing Assoc in 1998 and helped bring the club to national attention as a high school program.  Following a brief stint at Harvard/Radcliffe in 2004-2007, Cat returned to SRA as the executive director and head coach.  In 2016, following the Olympic Trials, Cat started the ARION program.

Cat is a frequent presenter at coaching conferences on teaching technique and rigging.  He believes that the best experiences are found when the challenges and skills are appropriately balanced from the middle school rowers all the way to the Olympians, and his coaching philosophy is "teach, train, select" in that order and emphasis.

Cat coaches on "themes" to the group as a whole, and gives individual coaching to athletes within the theme of the practices or if specific technical changes for that individual are on the verge of a breakthrough.  Best success is found under Cat's coaching by the athlete who can direct and hold focus, is willing to the the mental work of making changes and willing to be patient but persistent as some changes take time.  It also helps to catch him outside of practice time when you can.  He stays pretty busy, but he loves sharing knowledge/insight and brainstorming when asked.

Steve Bohler: Technical Advisor

Steve started rowing in 1985 for Rutgers University and has coached numerous successful teams, including Oxford University men, Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire. Steve specializes in rowing technique, biomechanics and the use of data to optimize performance. As a certified Sports Psychology Coach, Steve also helps athletes enhance their "mental strengths" in practice and racing.


Stacey Apfelbaum: Coach

Stacey is a former national team member and world champion, Stacey has over 30 years of coaching experience at the high school, collegiate and club levels. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Stacey was varsity coxswain for three years before becoming involved with the US National Team. While a member of the Pioneer Valley Rowing Association, Stacey won the Head off the Charles three times, numerous National titles and Canadian Henley (including 2022 as coach/coxswain!). As a coach, she has led crews to the podium at the NY State Championships, Stotesbury Cup, Dad Vail, SRAAs and USRowing Youth and Senior Nationals. Stacey has been a teacher at the Academy of the Holy Names for 17 years.

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The ARION program is comprised of several athletes at various points along their olympic journey.  Along the way we make time to appreciate the journey.

Kristi Wagner

Hometown: Weston, MA

College: Yale 

Major(s): American Studies

US Teams: 2013 U23 2-, 2021 Olympic 2x, 2022 Worlds 2x, 2023 Worlds 2x

Career Highlights: Kristi's career highlight thus far is winning the HOCR alumni 8 in 2019 with her college teammates including fellow ARION teammate, Kate!

PersonalIt’s been said if you think of ARION and don’t think Kristi Wagner you’re wrong. An OG horse swirl and our first Olympian, Kristi exemplifies what it means to be an elite athlete. Never one to cut corners or take the short road, she is dedicated and fierce, but calm and collected in the moments that count. She’s a lover of donut rides, ice cream, and a little bit of smack talk. Kristi shows us all that our lofty dreams are possible if you are willing to put in the work. 

Check out Kristi's podcast!

Savannah Brija

Hometown: Lemont, IL

College: Ithaca University

Major(s): Clinical Health Studies/DPT

Teams: 2022 Worlds 4x

Career Highlights: 1st place 2022 Summer Nats W1x and W2x

Personal: Dr. Savannah, better known as Sav, is our resident PT specialist and dinosaur enthusiast. Sav radiates confidence and has never been one to let barriers hold her back. Though she is an artist, plant lover, and has a yoga corner, she is also the first one many would call to back them up in a fight. Sav is the first to engage in a little bit of verbal sparring and you’d be hard pressed to find a challenge she won’t accept. She is also a firm believer that a little rage rowing can take you a long way, sometimes all the way to the National Team. 

Lauren O'Connor

Hometown: Belleville, WI

College: University of Wisconsin - Madison

Major(s): Biology, Environmental Sciences

Teams: 2023 Worlds 4x

Career Highlights: 2022 Lottman Challenge Winner, 1st 2022 Summer Nationals 2x, 1st 2022 Green Mountain Head


Hannah Paynter

Hometown: Lyme, CT

College:  Princeton University

Major(s): Psychology, Teacher Prep (Social Studies), African American Studies

US Teams: U23 W4x 2019, Senior Spare 2022

Career Highlights: Ivy League Champions 2018 & 2019

PersonalHannah is the self-proclaimed hype-train who lives up to the hype. As a classic Enneagram 7, she brings the energy and excitement to any situation, often through the form of her beautifully crafted Instagram reels. Her bold personality is reflected in her love of bright colors and fun fashion choices. Hannah is always the one to spend extra time on the small things, whether that be the warmup and cooldown or creating a detailed plan for a trip. She embodies the just go for it energy and encourages others to do the same.

Veronica Nicacio

Hometown: Vancouver, WA

College:  University of Portland

Major(s): Biology B.S

US Teams: 2023 Pan Am W2x & 4x

Career Highlights: 3rd Club Nationals Women’s 2x 2022, 1st Women’s 1x Dash Canadian Henley 2022, 1st Women’s 2x Canadian Henley, 1st Women’s 4x Canadian Henley

PersonalVeronica, aka “Ronnie”, is a great example of the fact that size does not represent power. If the World Championships was a 500 dash you can guarantee this girl would get the gold. Our high rate queen, Veronica never fails to go big, which is an approach she applies in her daily life as well. Whether that’s through her cooking, which often looks as though she’s feeding a small army, or her unending patience and kindness towards others. Don’t let the kindness fool you though, this girl isn’t afraid to give some sass when necessary. That being said, anyone who has met Veronica would likely agree that she is living up to her goals of being an incredible role model for her younger siblings and becoming a better rower every day. 

Megan Goodman

Hometown: Pleasanton, CA

College:  University of San Diego (Undergrad), Northeastern (Masters)

Major(s): Undergrad: International Relations and Spanish, Masters: Global Development

US Teams: 2015 U23 2x

Career Highlights: 2022 3x Canadian Henley gold, 2021 HOCR silver club single

PersonalGoodman radiates two things, positivity and her love of rowing. Her infectious spirit can make any workout better and she brings joy to both our team and the sport. She is a low rate queen (keep an eye out for her breaking the 30’ world record) and she loves her sweep boats. Goodman would be the only one to put up a fight against Karina in musicals jeopardy and no one would be shocked if she had a shrine to Sara Bareilles somewhere in her room. If you ever need to hear a good “your mom” joke or want to think of a way to roast Cat, she’s your gal. Incredibly strong and forever smiling, Megan is someone you want around on and off the water.

Karina Feitner

Hometown: Cummington, MA

College:  Ithaca College

Major(s): Psychology

US Teams

Career Highlights: 2nd 2018 NCAA, B Final 2023 Winter Speed Order, 2nd 2022 Canadian Henley W1x, 8th 2022 Head of the Charles W Champ 1x

PersonalThe embodiment of a true teammate, Karina is someone everyone is proud to have on their side. She is always there to check in and seems to know what everyone needs, all while being an incredibly strong competitor and athlete herself. She is calm, confident, and takes all the chaos of rowing in stride, which might be why she makes such an incredible bow seat. Karina is never one to shy away from hard work, both in rowing and around the boathouse. Whether she’s throwing down on the water or at a trivia game (one of her fav past-times), she’s a fierce competitor and always giving 110% of what she’s got. And if it’s trivia on musicals, you better hope she’s on your team. 

Kate Horvat

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

College:  Yale University (Undergrad), Cambridge University (Masters)

Major(s): Undergrad: History and Energy Studies, Masters: Urban Planning

US Teams: 2023 Pan Am W4x

Career Highlights: 1st HOCR 2022 Champ 2x, 1st 2019 Alumni 8+ (with Kristi!), 1st 2022 Canadian Henley 4x and 8+ Dash, 1st 2021 US summer nationals W2-, 2019 Oxford Cambridge Boatrace Winner, Ivy League champs 2017 V4+, 2016 V4+, 2015 3V

PersonalOur Philly girl and life of the party, Kate Horvat is someone who can do it all. Big boats, small boats, sculling, sweeping, no challenge is too great for her to take on. She is versatile and adaptable, taking every change in stride and seizing every opportunity that comes her way. In the time when she is not rowing, Kate also doubles as an elite thrift shopper, having never met an article of clothing that she couldn’t style given the right occasion. If you ever need camo coveralls or a sequined jumpsuit, she’s got you covered. Her versatility truly knows no bounds, whether you need a partner on the dance floor or the biggest hug you’ve ever received (her love language is absolutely physical touch) Kate’s got you. She also has a reel for every situation you could imagine. It is truly incredible to watch Kate take on any and every challenge and see her not only complete it, but do so with confidence and style.

Lauren Miller

Hometown: Saint Cloud, MN

College:  University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Major(s): Undergrad: Neuroscience, Art Minor; Masters: Business Administration

US Teams: 2023 Pan Am W4-

Career Highlights: 2nd Club W1x HOTC 2022

PersonalMiller, L. Millz, Father Mills, Miller Lite; all of these names reference the one and only Lauren Miller. She is best known for her ability to crush low rate pieces and her job in corporate America all in the same day, after consuming approximately a liter of coffee (exact amounts consumed are unknown). Lauren puts most of us and all of corporate America to shame with her organization and work ethic. If ever a spreadsheet is needed she will have one color coded and ready to go. Same goes for a workout buddy, if you ever need someone to get you through a hard erg workout she will be a strong, steady presence beside you. Miller brings determination and consistency to everything she does, including cooking where she will consistently put eggs on anything and everything she eats. Level-headed, but with a strong competitive side, Lauren Miller brings an energy to the team that makes every workout better.

Ricky Flowers

Hometown: Marblehead, MA

College:  Wesleyan University

Major(s): Neuroscience, Psychology

US Teams: 2018 World University Championships W4-

Career Highlights: 1st 2016 HOCR Collegiate 8+, 5th 2018 World University Championships W4-, 3rd 2016 NCAAs, 2nd 2017 HOCR Collegiate 8+

PersonalRicky Flowers can always be counted on to show up to practice with two things: a great outfit (she is Cat’s style icon) and a smile on her face. Despite being dealt a rough hand with injuries in her first year at ARION, Ricky is someone you can count on to put in the work. A certified Berg Queen, she has an incredible level of discipline and commitment that we all admire. From the grueling workouts that she often completed alone to the hours of physical therapy and strength training, she has given 100% every day since the day she arrived in Saratoga. A fun fact about Ricky, her real name is Rachelle, and the nickname Ricky comes from her love of ricotta cheese. She also possesses an impressive knowledge of whales, having attended whale camp as a child, and is an incredible artist. Truly a woman of many talents, Ricky always brings the good vibes and an astounding work ethic.

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Katy Flynn

Hometown: Churchville, NY

College(s):  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute(Undergrad), University of Virginia(Masters/PhD)

Major(s): Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

US Teams: 2019 U23 W4x

Career Highlights: 1st 2019 ACRA & Dad Vail W1x

Personal It is difficult to put an icon such as Katy Flynn into words, but this is our attempt. Katy is humble and kind, with a wicked competitive side and resilience few possess. Often referred to as the brains of the group, she managed to train full time while also working towards a PhD in Engineering. That being said, we do believe that she has consumed enough coffee that it is now in her bloodstream. Katy operates under the premise that this is nothing that she cannot learn how to do and anyone who has met her would wholeheartedly agree with that. Whether it’s sculling, sweeping, erging, or creating an entirely new invention, Katy takes on every challenge with a growth mindset. Katy Flynn is someone who will succeed at whatever she puts her mind to, both in rowing and in her daily life, and she inspires the rest of us to do the same.

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Kaitlyn Kynast

Hometown: Ridgefield, CT

College:  Stanford University

Major(s): Communications, Psychology, Education

US Teams: 2023 Worlds Spare, 2019 U23 W4-(3rd), 2018 U23 W8+(3rd), 2017 Junior National Team W4-(3rd), 2016 JNT W2-(3rd), 2015 JNT W4-(1st), 

Career Highlights: Junior USRowing Rower of the Year 2017, 1st 2017 CRASH Bs, 2nd NCAAs 2021 & 2022 WV8+, 4th NCAAs 2018 & 2019 WV8+, First Team All-American: 2019,2020,2021, Second Team All-American: 2018,2022, 1st 2022 PAC-12s Varsity 8/Team

PersonalFierce, fabulous, and a breath of fresh air: these are just a few of the ways people have described Kaitlyn Kynast, also known as “KK”. One of our newest members of ARION, Kaitlyn has raised the standards both on the water and in the living environment of the Training Center (you should see how organized it is). Her work ethic and determination to succeed brings an incredible energy to every practice, and her playlists that make you feel like you’re clubbing in Eastern Europe. She is the epitome of speed and style, with her matching workout sets and immaculate nails, which she says makes dogs like her more because she gives better scratches. Stubborn in the best way, Kaitlyn is a force to be reckoned with, both on the water and in daily life.

Submit an Application

Are you an aspiring Olympian?

ARION has a running application process and is interested in finding the right athletes who will fit with the program socially as well as in capacity for work and potential to compete at the international level.

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