Article Ed Johnson
The Noank Rowing Club, in conjunction with the Groton Parks & Recreation Commission, finally held their formal dedication ceremony for their new Rowing Shell House at Spicer Park on Sunday 6/16/13 at 1:00 PM. The ceremony had been previously postponed due to the recent heavy rain storms.
Key speakers included Phil Butta of Groton Parks & Rec, with Paul Chomet and Kristen Negaard Obrien of the Rowing Club. A large number of volunteers were involved, including George Obrien, who estimated that the construction process of building the shed involved 2,500 hours of volunteer labor.
The rowing program on Beebe Cove was started over 25 years ago and coached by Nancy Steenberg. She was joined by Kristen Negaard OBrien, who was a National Champion and a member of the 1980 US Olympic Team that, as it turned out, boycotted the Olympics that year. Kristen has now coached crew for 37 years and is considered to be the central “life blood” of the Noank rowing program. She is noted for her very high level of energy in a wide variety of activities.
The program itself encourages rowing in all age groups, including Juniors under age 18 through senior and masters levels, in addition to working with the Fitch High School Rowing Club. Classes include winter season conditioning, followed by spring & summer introduction to rowing, novice and experienced racing, introduction and intermediate sculling, novice and experienced sweep rowing.
The club has produced a large number of athletes who have gone on to row at college and in national events. Currently, Kelsey Butta of Mystic, a previous member of the Fitch High School club, recently competed in the National Collegiate Athletic Associations Division 1 Rowing Championships in Indianapolis. Now she stands on the doorstep of the greatest achievement of her career, competing in the Nationals.
The Noank Rowing Club presently owns sweep 8-oar and 4 oar with coxswain shells, plus double sculling and quad sculling shells, along with a large number of single sculling shells. Members can also keep their personal single and double sculling shells on the property. The larger shells are being kept in the new boathouse along with a large storage locker for the oars themselves. A nearby barn is used for winter storage of the smaller craft.
Over the years, the membership and sponsorship of the club has grown considerably and the protected waters of Beebe Cove are very suitable for this activity. On a chart, the longest straight run in Beebe Cove is over 1/2 mile, perfect for training and shorter races. Naturally, on a calm day, much longer runs are made on the Mystic River itself.
Annual membership costs are quite reasonable, ranging from $50 for HS & College Students, $100 for adults and $175 for family households. Contact Info is at P.O. Box 296 Mystic, CT 06355, noankrowing.org, email@example.com and Facebook – Noank Rowing Club.