A Snowy End to the Season

Last week’s pleasantly warm temperatures and calm water, which brought many rowers out to enjoy the near-perfect conditions on our river, gave way to chilly temperatures and snow on Saturday morning. Our fall racing season had ended the previous weekend, November 6th and 7th, with a trip to the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga. Ben Boehm won a gold medal (Men’s Masters 2x under age 50) and two silver (Men’s Masters 4x under age 50 and Men’s Open 4x) while racing with composite teams.

Rough water on Saturday caused the Mixed Masters doubles to be rescheduled to the end of the day for safety reasons. Because the new schedule caused this event to conflict with single-sex doubles, some of us didn’t get as many races as we had planned. Our mixed double over-50 crews did well, though, and were pleased with the results. Deb Taylor took silver, rowing in a composite boat with Don Bush from Great Miami. Brian White and Meg Evans, shown in the photo below, won bronze at the Hooch.

We also had several people traveling to the Speakmon Memorial Regatta in Columbus on Sunday, October 30th. Among our GDRA rowers were two recent Learn-to-Row graduates, Bethany Banakos and Laura Swope, who competed in the Women’s Masters 2x and had a great time! Two of our crews medaled in the Mixed Masters 2x; they were Mike McCarty and Paula Sideras, who won first place, followed by Deb Taylor taking silver in a composite boat with Brian Elwell from Great Miami. Richard Pierce won silver in the Men’s Masters 1x. Other GDRA competitors were Ryan Repasy, Brian White, and Meg Evans.

Today, with the 2022 season ending, a group of volunteers organized by our Boathouse Manager, Wilfred van Breukelen, tidied up the boathouse and got everything ready for winter. Thanks Wilfred! Our annual Jingle Bell Row, in which Santa coxes the trusty reindeer in a sweep boat, will be held this coming Saturday, November 19th, at 9:30 AM. Ho ho ho!

Not a Secret, We All Had Fun

GDRA was well represented at the 2022 Secret City Head Race in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the weekend of October 8 and 9. Saturday’s races were downstream, while the Sunday races were upstream, allowing participants to see more of the regatta’s beautiful autumn scenery.

Our contingent had three recent Learn-to-Row graduates: Eric Lathrop, Wendy Lathrop, and Connie Howe. We’re all very glad to welcome them to our racing team! Eric won bronze in a composite Men’s Masters 4x on Sunday, Eric and Wendy rowed in the Mixed Masters 2x on Saturday, and Connie and Wendy competed in the Women’s 2x on Sunday. Eric also rowed a Men’s Masters 2x with Ed Walz. An impressive outing for our newest members!

Ed Walz and Denise Hauser took advantage of the opportunity to race the Mixed Masters 2x on both days, taking the gold medal in the Sunday race. Meg Evans and Brian White also competed in the Mixed Masters 2x on Saturday. Deb Taylor and Meg Evans took second place in the Women’s Masters 2x on Sunday.

Racing the singles on Saturday was challenging because the wind was higher than predicted, making the course choppy. Brian White rowed a single in the morning Men’s Masters race. The wind was stronger by the midafternoon Women’s Masters single race, and Deb Taylor persevered to win the bronze medal. Meg Evans also rowed a single.

Other regattas where GDRA members have rowed this fall season are the Chicago River Half Marathon, the Head of the Ohio, and the Hoover Fall Classic.

2022 Outdoor Experience

GDRA volunteers set up a tent and greeted many curious visitors at the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience over the weekend of October 1 & 2, introducing people to the sport of rowing. Our Recruitment Director, Linda Clemens, did a great job of getting everything organized!

Linda reports that 438 people hopped on ergs for our weekend-long competition. We also had a boat display to promote our Learn-to-Row classes and give people an idea of what it’s like to row on the river.

Everyone had great fun, and our volunteers were glad to have the opportunity to be part of this popular community event. Many thanks to everyone who participated!

Our 2022 Masters Nationals Adventure

GDRA rowers competed in all four days of the 2022 Masters Nationals regatta in Sarasota and very much enjoyed the trip! Ben Boehm had a “hot-boating” adventure on the first day when he rowed in a composite boat that won gold in the Men’s Light C 4x but had rudder problems, leaving the crew unable to row it in the Men’s Open C 4x soon afterward. When they returned to the dock believing that they would miss their next race, they were fortunate that another GDRA composite boat with Deb Taylor, Meg Evans, and Brian White, along with Brian Elwell from Great Miami Rowing Club, had just returned from the Mixed E 4x. The crews swapped their boats, with no time for Ben’s crew to adjust the feet or make any other changes, but they won the silver medal in the Men’s Open C 4x after rushing to the starting line.

Luiz Franca had a strong race, winning the silver medal in the Men’s Open I 1x.

Among other highlights of the regatta, Ed Walz and his son Brandon Walz, a former GDRA junior rower, finished first in a very competitive Father/Son double race. Ben Boehm raced in a composite Mixed B 8+ that took first place, capturing the Great Eight traveling trophy for Greater Columbus. Ben also won gold in the Mixed A 2x, with Kelli Vandermoer from OKC High Performance Center, and in the Men’s Light C 1x. Meg Evans and Deb Taylor took silver in the Women’s Light E 2x, a fast race in which the top two boats were right next to each other all the way. All told, GDRA’s rowers medaled in a total of 15 events, had a great time, and are looking forward to more adventures next year.

Sprint Season 2022 Highlights

GDRA rowers had a great sprint season this year, winning medals in every regatta we attended! We began by traveling to the Nathan Benderson Park Masters Classic regatta in Sarasota, Florida, at the end of February. Next up was the Clemson Sprints in South Carolina, in early April. After that, we were off to the Dogwood Masters Classic in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in May, which is always one of our favorite regattas. The Indy Summer Sprints came next in June, followed by two regattas in July — the Independence Day Regatta (IDR) in Philadelphia and the Midwest Summer Sprints Championships at Dillon Lake, Ohio.

IDR was particularly notable because Ben Boehm and his daughter Sage finished in 2nd place in the father-daughter 2x, out of 10 entries, and Ben also won first place (for which the prize is a commemorative watch) in a composite men’s 2x.

Seven GDRA members will finish the season by traveling to Sarasota again for the USRowing Masters National Championships, to be held August 11-14. The trailer is loaded and ready for departure this morning. We hope to win medals and, also important, to have a good time and represent our club well.

A Perfect Day for Discover Rowing

By Linda Clemens, GDRA’s Recruitment Director:

We had a perfect day on Saturday for Discover Rowing with the river at 26.5 feet, light breezes, and sunshine.

The entire event went very smoothly. Thanks to last week’s work crews, the boathouse and docks looked fantastic. I received some very nice “thank you” emails from visitors. Many volunteers stayed the entire day, and everyone succeeded in creating a positive experience for our guests. It was a pleasure to see our club members working smoothly and knowledgeably together. THANK YOU!!!


Photo of people in boats at dock.

Welcome to 2022 Learn-to-Row!

Greater Dayton Rowing Association has been operating since 1992. Our boathouse is on Island MetroPark, near downtown Dayton. We focus on adult rowing. We welcome everyone from college students to retirees, whether your interest is recreation, fitness or competition. If you have no experience with rowing, or if you have rowed previously but want to brush up on your skills, then our Learn-to-Row program is for you!

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 $175 for eight lessons.
– After graduating from Learn-to-Row, your first-year membership is free!
– Sign up at Regatta Central.

June Session
Saturday, June 11 & Sunday, June 12 10 AM – Noon
Saturday, June 18 & Sunday, June 19 10 AM – Noon
Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26 10 AM – Noon
Saturday, July 2 & Sunday, July 3 10 AM – Noon

July Session
Saturday, July 16 & Sunday, July 17 10 AM – Noon
Saturday, July 23 & Sunday, July 24 10 AM – Noon
Saturday, July 30 & Sunday, July 31 10 AM – Noon
Saturday, August 6 & Sunday, July August 7 10AM – Noon

As Arranged
Talk to Brian White, GDRA’s Adult Learn to Row Director, at 937-602-4081 or send an email to 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 or come to our sweep practice.
– We have 40 club owned boats, ranging 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.
– For more information, contact Ed Walz, GDRA’s Membership Director, at membership.director@daytonrowing.org

Visit our Learn-to-Row page for more information.

Discover Rowing!

Greater Dayton Rowing Association invites you to sign up for Discover Rowing, to be held on Saturday, June 4, 2022. This is a FREE opportunity to try rowing in a team boat. We’ll teach you about boats and oars, and then we get on the water and row. This event is for ages 18 and up, and swimming proficiency is required. Come to Discover Rowing and learn more about the sport!

PRE-REGISTRATION is required. To reserve your time slot and get more information, contact

Thankful for the Season

Many of us enjoyed competing in head races during the fall season in 2021. We began by hosting the virtual Charlie Doyle Memorial Regatta over the weekend of September 11-12. Small contingents from GDRA traveled to the Head of the Cuyahoga in Cleveland on September 18 and to the Music City Head Race in Nashville on October 2. A larger group went to the Hoover Fall Classic in Columbus on October 9, on a gloriously warm, sunny day. GDRA also was represented at the Secret City Head Race in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on October 16.

Our team competed at the Speakmon Memorial Regatta in Columbus on Sunday, October 31, racing several singles, doubles, and quads. Brian White, who became a rowing referee this year, drove the GDRA trailer to the venue early Saturday morning, refereed at the Blake Haxton Fall Regatta on Saturday, and then rowed in the Speakmon with the GDRA team on Sunday.

Brian White with the GDRA trailer at the Speakmon Memorial Regatta in 2021.

Then we traveled to the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tennessee, over the weekend of November 6-7. Going to the Hooch is a longstanding tradition for our competitive team. All of us were thankful to have the opportunity to get out and enjoy this popular race again! GDRA also was represented at the Head of the South in Augusta, Georgia, on November 13.

We wrapped up our 2021 season with the annual Jingle Bell Row on Saturday, November 20. As always, the Jingle Bell Row featured eight rowing reindeer and Santa as coxswain.

The GDRA sweep team in costume as Santa and reindeer for the 2021 Jingle Bell Row.

We were happy to learn that GDRA member Luiz Franca has qualified to race in the Sulamericano (South American games) representing Brazil in 2022. Luiz won gold in the men’s single and double, along with silver in the men’s quad. Hearty congratulations to Luiz!

Ben Boehm, our Racing Captain, will be leading winter training sessions on Zoom again this year. Check your email for Ben’s message with this information. Also, the Concept2 Holiday Challenge, which started on Thanksgiving, runs through December 24th; if you would like to sign up and participate in the challenge, go to https://log.concept2.com/challenges/holiday and set your affiliation to GDRA in your Concept2 logbook.

Much Fun at Masters Nationals

GDRA was represented well at the 2021 USRowing Masters National Championships, held August 12-15 on Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This is an excellent course, among the best in the United States, and several of us were able to participate. With so many events over four days, there were many races from which to choose, and it was great to see friends from other rowing clubs.

Our members raced in 16 events at the regatta and earned medals in three of them. Lou Franca won a bronze medal in the men’s 1x. Brian White took silver in a composite men’s lightweight quad. Denise Heuser, Paula Sideras, Deb Taylor, and Meg Evans got bronze in a women’s lightweight quad.

(Photo courtesy of Row2K)

Head race season will be coming up soon! Be sure to register for the all-new Charlie Doyle regatta, with a live virtual 3000-meter erg race on September 12 and on-the-water asynchronous racing (2x1500m, in opposite directions) at any time during the weekend of September 11-12.