Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Boys (and Girls) in the Boat

Rowing on the Norwalk River



Local rowers learn teamwork, get into great physical shape, make friends, and, not incidentally, excel in races.

Photos by Ryan Lavine

More than a dozen teenagers from Fox Lane and John Jay high schools are spending their time these days improving their 2ks, erging, rigging and de-rigging, speeding up their catch, and responding to orders from the cox for a power ten or to way nuff.

Sound unfamiliar? It’s the lingo of rowing, a sport whose physical and mental demands routinely push athletes to the brink of exhaustion. The local kids—nine boys and six girls—compete for five clubs, in Norwalk, Westport, and Greenwich. In a sport with strongholds in all sections of the country, and whose popularity has increased significantly over the last decade-plus, they are among the most competitive clubs in the nation.

Amanda Lawrence, Liam McDonough, Ian Trostle, and Christian Lawrence—all Fox Lane students—row for Norwalk River Rowing Association. Their schoolmates, Ella Petreski and Liz Sadrakula, along with Samantha Shulman of John Jay High, compete for the all-girls Connecticut Boat Club. Abby Lehman and Andrew Conner of Fox Lane row for Greenwich Crew. Evan Goggin of Fox Lane is at Saugatuck Rowing Club. And Kris Petreski and Kaare Andersen, both from Fox Lane, and Zach Johnston, Will and Carly Legenzowski of John Jay compete for Maritime Rowing Club.

They learn teamwork—for a four-person boat, the physical synchronization alone is daunting. They develop an impressive sense of discipline. At regattas, they forge friendships in a large regional community. And they get into superb physical condition. 

“I wasn’t really sure of what to expect, since I knew nothing about the sport when I first joined,” Amanda Lawrence says. “I’ve found that it’s an incredibly tough, but very rewarding sport, and that you get what you put into it.”

Youth rowing is thriving, but it thrives in obscurity. Despite its growth, it has not captured the attention routinely paid to amateur football, lacrosse, basketball, or field hockey, for example. Or, rather, recapture, because in its golden era 80 or so years ago it was a sport with a national following.

In his bestseller, The Boys in the Boat, author Dan Brown described how in the 1930s, when the intercollegiate rowing championships were held on the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, 100,000 fans lined the shore while coast-to-coast radio broadcasts drew listeners by the millions.

Today rowers train at times and in places where few are around to notice. And while regattas, on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, for example, are lively and bustling, the crowds tend to be limited to the parents, whose volunteer activities keep the clubs afloat, and to the rowers themselves.

It’s a three-season sport—spring, summer and fall, with indoor training throughout the winter. The fall season consists of head races from late September through October, with boats racing individually against the clock, like in ski racing, for up to three miles.

The spring and summer events are sprints, with six or so boats lined up across a river or lake, racing head-to-head for two kilometers. It can be heart-stoppingly exciting—and excruciating. After my son, Kaare Andersen, and Chris Martensson qualified for the 2015 Youth National Championships in the pair, I travelled to Sarasota, Florida, to cheer them on, only to see them miss qualifying for the semi-finals by 0.18 of a second, less time than the blink of an eye.

For the best of the rowers, the rewards include medals from just about every regatta they compete in and trips to national and world championships. 

Maritime’s Kris Petreski, is in the top echelon nationally, was a member of the 2015 U.S. Youth National team, and raced in the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro. In 2014, he and Liam McDonough won a gold medal in the Under 17 double sculls at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta and at the Club National Championships, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Abby Lehman was part of the 2015 U.S. junior team at the CanAmMex regatta in Mexico City.

   Last summer, my son, Kaare, and Chris Martensson, who lives in Norwalk, won a silver medal in the Under 19 pair at the Club National Championships, in Bethel, Ohio. “After losing in Sarasota by such a small margin, we were determined to win a medal at Club Nationals,” Kaare says.

Everyone wants to win medals, of course, but medals are only part of it. 

“I didn’t know what to expect, but rowing has proved to be a rewarding activity,” Ian Trostle says. “My favorite part is the strong correlation between effort in practices and results in races.”

Amanda Lawrence says: “My favorite thing about the sport is the people I’ve met. You know they’re here to do the same thing that you’re here to do. There’s something about doing something difficult that brings people together and allows them to get to know one another really well.” 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

Weekend activities and events in the area
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Just Did It

Embracing my inner athlete

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

May 2017

“SPECTRUM 2017:  Grayscale”Carriage Barn Arts Center, home to the New Canaan Society for the Arts will host its 27th annual Spectrum Contemporary Art Show.  Spectrum is a...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Avenue
Waveny Park
New Canaan, CT
View map »


Sponsor: New Canaan Society for the Arts
Telephone: 120-397-21895
Contact Name: Hilary Wittmann
Website »

More information

Come and enjoy the Bruce Museum's 32nd Annual Outdoor Crafts Festival. More than 70 crafts artists from all over the country, many of them new to the show, will be on the Museum grounds to...

Cost: $10, children under 5 are free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830-7157
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

The Jason Bishop Show tours the most dynamic illusion and magic show in the US. Jason performs stunning & original state-of-the-art magic. Each show features exclusive large...

Cost: Adults $35 and Children $25

Where:
Tarrytown Music Hall
13 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Music from Copland House presents two major works for piano and string quartet by Timo Andres, a Finalist for this year's Pulitzer Prize in Music, and Lowell Liebermann, one of...

Cost: $25, $20 (Friends), $10 (Students)

Where:
Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mt. Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

The Ferris Wheel. Bumper Cars. Cotton Candy. Sausage and Peppers. Everyone’s favorite rides and fun fair foods return to the St. Patrick’s Parish Carnival, to be held on the...

Where:
St. Patrick’s School
483 Old Post Rd
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Sponsor: St. Patrick’s Parish
Website »

More information

  Join us on Sunday, May 21st for a Jazz/Latin Jam Session Lagond Music School is now hosting adult jam sessions 3x a month.  The highly accredited, not-for-profit academy,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Haven at Lagond Music School
9 Haven Street
Elmsford, NY  10523
View map »


Telephone: 914-345-0512
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

This exhibit examines the 19th-century origins of this traditionally African-American congregation, as well as Antioch's growth, people, music, and ministries over its long and vibrant history...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bedford Hills Train Station
Depot Plaza
Bedford Hills, NY  10507
View map »


Sponsor: Bedford Hills Historical Museum
Telephone: 914-806-2518
Contact Name: Ellen Cohen, Elin Peterson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“SPECTRUM 2017:  Grayscale”Carriage Barn Arts Center, home to the New Canaan Society for the Arts will host its 27th annual Spectrum Contemporary Art Show.  Spectrum is a...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Avenue
Waveny Park
New Canaan, CT
View map »


Sponsor: New Canaan Society for the Arts
Telephone: 120-397-21895
Contact Name: Hilary Wittmann
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center is pleased to present REVISIT: The Boneyard Featuring works by 40 internationally acclaimed ceramic artists who have taught workshops at Clay Art Center over the last 60...

Cost: 0

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“SPECTRUM 2017:  Grayscale”Carriage Barn Arts Center, home to the New Canaan Society for the Arts will host its 27th annual Spectrum Contemporary Art Show.  Spectrum is a...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Avenue
Waveny Park
New Canaan, CT
View map »


Sponsor: New Canaan Society for the Arts
Telephone: 120-397-21895
Contact Name: Hilary Wittmann
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center is pleased to present REVISIT: The Boneyard Featuring works by 40 internationally acclaimed ceramic artists who have taught workshops at Clay Art Center over the last 60...

Cost: 0

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“SPECTRUM 2017:  Grayscale”Carriage Barn Arts Center, home to the New Canaan Society for the Arts will host its 27th annual Spectrum Contemporary Art Show.  Spectrum is a...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Avenue
Waveny Park
New Canaan, CT
View map »


Sponsor: New Canaan Society for the Arts
Telephone: 120-397-21895
Contact Name: Hilary Wittmann
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

The Historical Society will hold its 100th Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 24th at Historical Hall - the building that was the catalyst for the preservation movement in Bedford...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historical Hall
608 Old Post Road
Bedford , CT  10506
View map »


Sponsor: Bedford Historical Society
Telephone: 914-234-9751
Contact Name: Sophia Bernier
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center is pleased to present REVISIT: The Boneyard Featuring works by 40 internationally acclaimed ceramic artists who have taught workshops at Clay Art Center over the last 60...

Cost: 0

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“SPECTRUM 2017:  Grayscale”Carriage Barn Arts Center, home to the New Canaan Society for the Arts will host its 27th annual Spectrum Contemporary Art Show.  Spectrum is a...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Avenue
Waveny Park
New Canaan, CT
View map »


Sponsor: New Canaan Society for the Arts
Telephone: 120-397-21895
Contact Name: Hilary Wittmann
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center is pleased to present REVISIT: The Boneyard Featuring works by 40 internationally acclaimed ceramic artists who have taught workshops at Clay Art Center over the last 60...

Cost: 0

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center is pleased to present REVISIT: The Boneyard Featuring works by 40 internationally acclaimed ceramic artists who have taught workshops at Clay Art Center over the last 60...

Cost: 0

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

The Bedford Hills Farmers’ Market, a project of the community group Bedford Hills LIVE, is unveiling its Second Annual Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, November 5 beginning at 10am....

Cost: Free

Where:
Bedford Hills Train Station
Depot Plaza
Bedford Hills, NY  10507
View map »


Telephone: 917.951.3588
Contact Name: Vanessa Pahucki

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Looking for something relaxing, creative and fun to do this Winter/Spring for the whole family. Take part in Clay Art Center’s Saturday Drop-In Clay Class, Saturdays from...

Cost: $25

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Contact Name: Nancy Yates
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center is pleased to present REVISIT: The Boneyard Featuring works by 40 internationally acclaimed ceramic artists who have taught workshops at Clay Art Center over the last 60...

Cost: 0

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags