The Sweeney File
||Patrick Sweeney Coaching Timeline
Contact Coach Sweeney
Entering his ninth season at K-State, Patrick Sweeney brings over 30 years of international and collegiate coaching experience to the Wildcat program, including tenures with the British and Belgian Olympic teams.
As an international coach, Sweeney took crews to 11 World Championships and four Olympic Games. He has collected two gold, two silver and one bronze medal at the World Championships and one gold and one bronze at the Olympics. In addition, he won four national championships while coaching at the University of California.
Winning at K-State
Once on staff with the Wildcats, Sweeney made immediate changes, making his first mark with a 1V8 victory at SIRAs in 2004. The team continued its development in 2005-06, with the 1V8 taking second at the San Diego Crew Classic. The 2006-07 season was highlighted by the outstanding performances of the 1N8 that won SIRAs and the NCAA Central Regional title. Sweeney's more recent novice crews continue to be dominant, especially in their early season showings as the 2008-09 1N8 tallied a commanding win at the 2008 Head of the Des Moines.
The top crew of Sweeney's K-State tenure has been the 2008-09 1V8. The winningest Wildcat crew Sweeney has put together, their accolades include capturing gold at the Head of the Des Moines, defeating Alabama on its own Black Warrior River, clenching a tightly contested third at the San Diego Crew Classic, producing a convincing victory over rival Kansas to secure the Kansas Cup as well the crew’s ulimate feat of a gold medal finish at the Big 12 Championship.
Sweeney arrived at K-State in 2003 after a one-year appointment as the associate men's varsity coach at Stanford. Prior to his year there, Sweeney was head coach and technical director of the Belgian Olympic Team for six years.
A multiple champion as a coxswain, Sweeney began his competitive career at the age of 12 for club crews in his native England. He eventually progressed to the British National Team, where he competed as a coxswain in eight World Championships (two gold, three silver) and three Olympic Games (one silver, one bronze).
Sweeney and his wife, Martha, have a daughter, Toula (13).
Grace Ure, Assistant Coach
Former Wildcat student-athlete Grace Ure returns for her fifth season as an assistant coach for the K-State Women's Rowing program.
A two-year letterwinner for the Wildcats for head coach Patrick Sweeney, Ure (formerly Riekenberg) rowed for K-State from 2001-05, racing in the 1st Varsity Eight for two years. Her junior year was highlighted by winning gold at the Southern IRA Championships. Her senior year was highlighted by a gold medal finish in the 1V4 at the Head of the Iowa and winning the team trophies at both the Sunflower Showdown and the Kansas Cup.
Ure earned a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State in English Literature in 2005. During her undergraduate studies, she was selected to the Dean’s List from 2001-05. She was also inducted into the 2005 Phi Beta Kappa national academic honor society. Ure earned a place on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll all eight semesters while attending K-State.
After graduating from K-State, Ure continued both her academic and athletic careers at Oxford University. Rowing for the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club, she helped the Blue Boat to its 2006 victory in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race and set the University Pennant course record at the 2007 Women’s Eights Head of the River Race. Individually, Ure won the silver medal at the 2006 British Indoor Rowing Championships. She earned a master of philosophy with distinction in Medieval English Literature from Oxford.
Stephanie VanMatre, Assistant Coach
A former student-athlete for the Wildcats, Stephanie VanMatre returns for her fourth season as an assistant coach for the K-State Women’s Rowing program.
A letterwinner at K-State, VanMatre was a coxswain for the Wildcats from 2000-04 under head coaches Jenny Hale and Patrick Sweeney. She was a member of the team that competed at the Head of the Charles in Boston, Mass., and also raced as a Wildcat at the Henley Women’s Regatta in England. Her senior year was highlighted by a silver medal performance at the Southern IRAs.
After her competitive eligibility was up, Riegle continued her service with the Wildcats as an undergraduate assistant for the rowing program during the 2004-05 season. She assisted with practice and coached the freshman coxswains. VanMatre also spent time as an administrative assistant with the program during the summers of 2003 and 2004. She took her expertise beyond K-State by acting as the rowing department head for Camp Vega for Girls in Fayette, Maine from June to August of 2005.
A native of Wichita, Kan., and 2000 graduate of Trinity Academy, Riegle earned her bachelor’s degree from Kansas State in Family Studies and Human Services in 2005. She was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll in seven of her eight semesters at K-State.
She and her husband Clinton reside in Manhattan.