In May of 1992, a group of four rowers met for the first time to discuss promoting rowing in the greater Dayton area. These four were Jim Wall, Charles Doyle, Dr Todd Sobol, and Steve Herbert. By November of 1992, the group had incorporated the Greater Dayton Rowing Association (GDRA) as a not for profit corporation. GDRA has been a prime sponsor of rowing in the greater Dayton.
In 1994 GDRA started the area’s first rowing program for high school students. An adult Learn-to-Row program was also established so that those interested in the sport could have access to classes and equipment.
From it’s early days, GDRA has worked closely with the Five Rivers Metro Parks on many mutual issues of concern. The most visible is the sign came in 1995 when the Island MetroParks boathouse was completed and became the permanent home for GDRA. This boathouse provides safe and secure housing for rowing shells, oars, and other equipment.
In September 1995, GDRA hosted its first regatta. The regatta was originally known as the Five Rivers Fall Regatta and we renamed the Charlie Doyle Memorial Regatta in honor of founding member Charlie Doyle who passed away in the summer of 2007. The regatta, which is a head race and held on the Great Miami River, is a 2000 meter course.
In July of 2015, GDRA has entered into an agreement with the United States Olympic Committee and USRowing to designate newly formed Dayton Regional Rowing as a Community Olympic Development Program. Dayton Regional Rowing is a partnership between Five Rivers MetroParks, the Dayton Boat Club and Greater Dayton Rowing Association. The mission of Dayton Regional Rowing is to provide lifelong personal development and active lifestyles for Miami Valley youth through the sport of rowing, as well as to enhance high-quality intermediate programs for youth to maximize their potential in the Olympic sport of rowing. The Dayton Regional Rowing CODP will collaborate with the USOC and USRowing to offer a community-based rowing program. This program will build partnerships and leverage USOC and USRowing resources to help athletes develop their performance, thus enhancing the Olympic sports feeder system in Dayton. Dayton Regional Rowing’s initial goals include hosting coach and referee trainings, creating a clear pathway of athlete development, and increasing participation and improving performance in youth rowing.