Spring Rowing and the Eclipse

Rowers here at GDRA enjoyed getting out on the river during a pleasantly cool Memorial Day weekend. Earlier this month, the aurora borealis or “northern lights” were visible much farther south than usual, brightening the night sky just before Ben Boehm’s adult rowing camp over the weekend of May 11th and 12th. The camp was well attended, with 20 participants rowing in all five of the club’s quads on Saturday, and smaller boats on Sunday. Many thanks to Coach Ben for volunteering his time and effort!

We had an amazing view of Dayton’s total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8. Because the sky was clear, there was still plenty of sunshine even after the eclipse started. At first, it didn’t look much different from an ordinary hazy day. The birds and other wildlife behaved normally; they didn’t get confused and go flying home to roost, as they did in the 2017 partial eclipse when there was a thick cloud cover. When it reached the totality, the light suddenly drained away, leaving the river framed in sunset colors for several minutes.

Here is an eclipse photo taken from the bow seat of a double, over stroke seat’s head:

April was a good month for early spring competition. At the Percy Priest Sprints in Nashville on April 6th, in the first race of the day, two GDRA boats took first and second place in the Men’s Masters 2x. Other silver medal winners were Deborah Taylor in a single, Ryan Briggs in a single, a GDRA/GMRC composite crew in the Men’s Masters 4x, and another GDRA/GMRC composite crew in the Women’s Masters 2x. In the Mixed Masters 2x, Ryan Briggs and Deborah Taylor went fast and powerful, taking gold in a very competitive field; also racing in this event were Brian White and Meg Evans. The last event of the day was the Mixed Masters 4x, in which Ryan Briggs, Deborah Taylor, Brian White, and Meg Evans placed third. On the same weekend, Ben Boehm traveled to the San Diego Crew Classic to compete in the Men’s Masters C 8+ with a composite crew, finishing second after a strong sprint. Our rowers all got home in time to see the eclipse!

GDRA also was represented at the Sarasota Invitational on Sunday, February 25th. The weather was perfect, with very little wind and pleasant temperatures. Deborah Taylor had a stellar performance, competing in both the Mixed Masters 2x (winning silver) and the Mixed Masters Ltwt 2x (winning gold) and then following that up with another gold in the Women’s Masters 4x, a very competitive race in which Deb did a fantastic job in bow seat executing the sprint to the finish. Bronze medals went to Meg Evans in a single, Brian White and Meg Evans in the Mixed Masters Ltwt 2x, and later in the day, to our Mixed Masters 4x crew. It’s always fun traveling to Nathan Benderson Park to row in sunny Sarasota! The competition team would be glad to have more rowers join us next February, including those with little experience who are looking to get more comfortable with racing. This regatta offers an excellent opportunity to row on a high-quality course and enjoy an early spring-break getaway at the same time.

Masters Rowing Camp

GDRA is holding an adult rowing camp May 11th and 12th, coached by Ben Boehm.

The camp will be free for GDRA members and only cost $25 for non-members. Register at https://forms.gle/GGCvdcEpeW5Rdbfj6 by May 4th to be a part of the camp.

The camp will run from 8:30am to 5pm on May 11th and 8:30am to 1:30pm on May 12th. The goal is to row 3 times on Saturday and 2 times on Sunday. Rowers will review video and discuss technique improvements between rows.

The focus of the camp will be on improving racing and competition speed. Recreational rowers are welcome (but be prepared for Coach Ben to encourage you to race). This camp assumes the rowers will have a baseline fitness and ability to row. It’s not a learn-to-row camp, and it won’t be intense enough to improve your fitness. The camp will focus on technique and efficiency. The rows will be more technically and mentally challenging than physically challenging, but we will do some pieces at pressure.

Download our Rowing Camp Flyer for more information.

If you are interested, Coach Ben will be happy to help you make positive changes and get faster!

Learn to Row in 2024!

Greater Dayton Rowing Association’s 2024 adult Learn to Row classes are now open for registration! We welcome everyone with an interest in the sport of rowing, whether for recreation, fitness, or competition. Our boathouse is located on Island MetroPark, near downtown Dayton. If you have no experience with rowing, or if you have rowed previously but want to brush up on your skills, you’ll enjoy our Learn to Row program!

We will teach you how to row!

– You start out in quads (4-person boats), and then progress to doubles and singles.
– The cost is $190 for eight lessons, held for two hours at 10 am on Saturdays and Sundays.
– After graduating from Learn to Row, your first-year membership is free!
– Sign up at Regatta Central.

June Session
Saturday, June 8 & Sunday, June 9 10AM – Noon
Saturday, June 15 & Sunday, June 16 10AM – Noon
Saturday, June 22 & Sunday, June 23 10AM – Noon
Saturday, June 29 & Sunday, June 30 10AM – Noon

July Session
Saturday, July 13 & Sunday, July 14 10AM – Noon
Saturday, July 20 & Sunday, July 21 10AM – Noon
Saturday, July 27 & Sunday, July 28 10AM – Noon
Saturday, August 3 & Sunday, August 4 10AM – Noon

As Arranged
If neither of these sessions is convenient for you, contact Brian White, GDRA’s Adult Learn to Row Director at 937-602-4081 or ltrdirector@daytonrowing.org and arrange a time that works with your schedule.

If you already know how to row, then join GDRA now!

– Row on your own schedule! Our club boats range from entry level boats to elite Hudson racing shells.
– Membership fees are reduced for Young Adults (age 18-27) and summer-only College Students.
– Active and Retired Military discounts on all classes and membership fees.
– Questions? Contact Brian White, GDRA’s Adult Learn to Row Director, at 937-602-4081 or send an email to ltrdirector@daytonrowing.org.

Visit our Learn to Row page for more information.

Winter Erging at the Y

Back by popular demand! Weekly indoor rowing sessions will be held this winter at the Downtown Dayton YMCA on Wednesdays at 6:15pm, starting on January 17th. GDRA volunteer Janice Hill will lead participants through a structured erg workout.

These sessions will include not only GDRA members, but also people who are not (yet) GDRA members and people who would like to learn how to row (maybe after seeing Boys in the Boat). We are always glad to welcome anyone who has an interest in rowing!

Working out on an erg is great for keeping up fitness, and we hope many people will take advantage of this opportunity for winter training.

New Boats, New Adventures

GDRA added two team boats to our racing fleet this summer—a new 2023 Fluidesign lightweight quad and a 2022 Hudson lightweight double. Just in time for the head race season, and much welcomed by the lighter rowers on our competitive team!

The boats were put to good use when GDRA traveled to the Secret City Head Race in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on October 14 and 15, 2023. This regatta has a downstream course on Saturday and an upstream course on Sunday. In the new quad’s maiden voyage, Paula Sideras, Michael McCarty, Denise Heuser, and Ed Walz won the bronze medal in Saturday’s Mixed Masters 4x. The quad had another successful outing when Meg Evans, Deb Taylor, Brian Elwell, and Brian White took silver in Sunday’s Mixed Masters 4x. Ben Boehm won silver in the Men’s Masters 1x on Sunday. We had four crews in the mixed double race on Saturday, two crews in the men’s double on Saturday, one crew in the women’s double on Sunday, one crew in the men’s double on Sunday, and two competitors in the Saturday men’s single. A composite women’s crew also raced the quad on Saturday. A good time was had by all!

The following week, a small contingent from GDRA traveled to Boston to row in the legendary Head of the Charles regatta. Brian White rowed his single on Friday, October 20. Then, racing the new quad on Sunday, October 22, were Meg Evans, Deb Taylor, Brian Elwell, and Brian White. Rowing under the narrow bridges of the Charles River makes it a challenging course; it was also great fun, with crowds cheering from the bridges and making noise with cowbells and kazoos.

GDRA’s next trip was closer to home, with rowers competing in the Speakmon Memorial Regatta in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, October 29. Richard Pierce took first place in the Men’s Masters 1x. Two of our crews placed in the Mixed Masters 4x; Ed Walz, Denise Heuser, Paula Sideras, and Michael McCarty took the silver medal, and Eric Lathrop, Connie Howe, Deb Taylor, and William Turner got bronze. Ed Walz and Denise Heuser were first in the Mixed Masters 2x, in which two other GDRA crews—Deb Taylor and William Turner, and Paula Sideras and Michael McCarty—also competed.

We traveled to the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 4 and 5, 2023. This regatta always has been a club favorite. The Hooch is one of the larger regattas, so medals are hard to win, but we always enjoy the competition anyway. The Mixed Masters 2x is usually the most popular with our club, and that was true this year—we had four crews racing in this event. GDRA rowers also competed in the Mixed Masters 4x, the Men’s Masters 2x, the Women’s Masters 2x, the Women’s Masters Lightweight 1x, the Men’s Masters Lightweight 1x, and the Mixed Open 2x.

GDRA was represented in several other races this season:
– the Chicago River Half-Marathon;
– the Head of the Ohio, in Pittsburgh;
– the Hoover Fall Classic, in Columbus, in which Richard Pierce won the gold medal in his single;
– and the Head of the South, in Augusta, Georgia, where bronze medals went to Brian White and Meg Evans in the mixed double and Meg Evans in the single.

Our season ended with the annual Jingle Bell Row, in which eight reindeer-costumed sweep rowers bring joy to all the good people along the Great Miami River, with Santa Claus as coxswain.

Wishing a happy holiday season to all!

Come to the Outdoor Experience This Weekend!

The Outdoor Experience at Eastwood MetroPark will be held this weekend, October 7-8. As always, our volunteers will set up a tent and show the community what we love about rowing! GDRA will have a rowing machine challenge in which we invite people to see how fast they can row for 500 meters. This fun competition was popular at last year’s event. We expect visitors will enjoy it this weekend too.

GDRA will set up a boat display and give visitors information about our Learn-to-Row classes. If you are curious about the sport of rowing but have not tried it, the Outdoor Experience would be a great place to learn more. We’d love to see you there!

A Sizzling Summer

Our team didn’t have to travel far to Masters Nationals this year because its location at Eagle Creek in Indianapolis was so near. The regatta had a good turnout and plenty of tough competition. Ben Boehm was our superstar, racing with both GDRA and composite crews and winning gold in the Men’s Lightweight B 2x, the Men’s Lightweight C 2x, the Men’s Lightweight C 4x, the Men’s Lightweight B 1x, the Mixed B 8+, and the Men’s Lightweight A-AA 2x, and silver in the Men’s Lightweight A-AA 1x, the Men’s Lightweight C 1x, the Men’s Open D 4x, and the Men’s Open C 4x. Paula Sideras and Denise Heuser won the silver medal in a very close race in the Women’s Lightweight G 2x. Luiz Franca won silver in the Men’s Open I 1x. Michael McCarty, Richard Pierce, Ed Walz, Brian White, Meg Evans, Deborah Taylor, and Brian Elwell also competed.

Some of us raced in the Chicago Sprints at Lincoln Park Lagoon on Saturday, July 8 and Sunday, July 9. It is a narrow course with only two lanes, where the top finishers in the heats advance to the finals. Ben Boehm won gold in the Men’s Lightweight 1x, gold in the Men’s Lightweight 2x, and silver in the Men’s Masters Lightweight 1x. Meg Evans and Deborah Taylor took gold in the Women’s Lightweight 2x and the Women’s Masters 2x. Meg Evans and Brian White finished second in the Mixed Masters 2x.

The Indy Summer Sprints took place on June 17, also at Eagle Creek. Competitors from GDRA were Ben Boehm, Brian White, Brian Elwell, Deborah Taylor, Meg Evans, Denise Heuser, Ed Walz, and Richard Pierce. Racing with composite crems, Ben Boehm won the gold medal in the Men’s Masters 4x and the bronze in the Men’s Masters 2x. Meg Evans, Brian White, Brian Elwell, and Deborah Taylor won the bronze medal in the Mixed Masters 4x.

Our Discover Rowing event on June 10 was well attended, and our Learn-to-Row classes have been going well. This has been a sizzling summer! The sprint season for GDRA will end this Saturday, July 29, with some of us traveling to the Midwest Summer Sprints at Dillon Lake in Nashport, Ohio.

Dogwood Dominance

GDRA had a large group competing at the Dogwood Masters Regatta in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on Saturday, June 3rd. We brought so many boats that the trailer was almost full. Most of us arrived at noon on the practice day, Friday, and we got the boats rigged quickly with so many people helping. Then, after some practice in the buoyed sprint lanes, we enjoyed a pre-race dinner at Calhoun’s restaurant, which has a gorgeous view of the course on Melton Lake.

The organizers put together a good schedule that allowed for participation in multiple races with enough time in between. The races were competitive and fun. Our team did well. Kudos to Wendy Lathrop and Connie Howe, who learned to row with us in 2022 and took the bronze medal in their first stake boat sprint regatta!

Here is the full list of medal winners (thanks to Brian White for putting it together):

Ed Walz – Bronze – Mens Masters 1x
Deborah Taylor – Silver – Womens Masters 1x
Eric & Wendy Lathrop – Silver – Mixed Masters 2x, 43 -54
Meg Evans & Brian White – Gold – Mixed Masters 2x, 55 – 59
Brian Elwell & Deborah Taylor – Silver – Mixed Masters 2x, 55 – 59
Ed Walz & Denise Heuser– Silver – Mixed Masters 2x, 60+
Michael McCarty & Ed Walz – Silver – Mens Masters 2x
Meg Evans & Deborah Taylor – Gold – Womens Masters 2x, 50 – 59
Connie Howe & Wendy Lathrop – Bronze – Womens Masters 2x, 50 – 59
Paula Sideras & Denise Heuser– Silver – Womens Masters 2x, 60+
Meg Evans, Brian White, Brian Elwell & Deborah Taylor – Silver – Mixed Masters 4x, 50 – 59
Michael McCarty, Paula Sideras, Denise Heuser & Ed Walz – Silver – Mixed Masters 4x, 60+

Congratulations to all who participated!

Discover Rowing – Join the Adventure!

Greater Dayton Rowing Association invites you to take part in our annual Discover Rowing event on Saturday, June 10, 2023, from 10 AM to 1 PM. This is a FREE opportunity to enjoy the adventure of rowing in a team boat on the Great Miami River. Our volunteers will teach you about boats, oars, and how to get in a boat safely. Then we get on the water and row!

Discover Rowing will be held at the GDRA Boathouse, located just north of downtown Dayton at 102 East Helena Street, Dayton, Ohio 45404. Ages 18 and up. Pre-registration is required.

Sign up for Discover Rowing here!

Questions? Contact discover@daytonrowing.org

Spring Racing Season Gets Underway

Several rowers from GDRA traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to compete in the Percy Priest Sprints regatta on Saturday, April 1. Although we couldn’t race some of our small boats because of high winds, we all had multiple races even with the compressed schedule. The organizers were very helpful and flexible, adding mixed double and mixed quad events at our request, which ended up being fully subscribed and gave us some good competition.

Two GDRA boats placed in the Mixed Masters 2x race, with Deborah Taylor and Brian Elwell winning the silver medal, and Meg Evans and Brian White taking bronze. Taking the silver medal in the Women’s Masters 4x were Deborah Taylor, Meg Evans, Connie Howe, and Kathy Kremer (from Great Miami Rowing Center). This was Connie Howe’s first sprint race in very challenging conditions; bravely done!

Some of us also participated in the Sarasota Invitational at Nathan Benderson Park in Florida on February 26. This regatta is particularly fun for lightweight rowers because it features a Mixed Masters Lightweight 2x event, which most regattas do not have. Meg Evans and Brian White won gold in that event. Brian White took bronze in the Men’s Lightweight 1x, and a mixed quad made up of Meg Evans, Brian White, Kathy Kremer, and Brian Elwell also had a third-place finish.