Tuesday February 7, 2017

Rowing marks 25 years at UD

By Maureen Schlangen

Twenty-five years ago last September, the first University of Dayton rowing team started with 30 students, two volunteer coaches, a 55-mile commute to a practice facility in Cincinnati and a drive to compete.

By the start of the spring semester, the nascent crew was still missing some essential items — not the least of which was a boat.

On Jan. 30, 1992, the University of Dayton sent out a news release announcing the team’s first major acquisition: a used eight-person shell, purchased for $800 from Xavier University. They had no oars, no trailer to transport it, nowhere to keep it, and no dock from which to launch … but they had ambition, which was just what they needed to work out the details that would establish the sport of rowing in Dayton, Ohio.

Soon, the city of Dayton agreed to build a fenced-in storage area and install a floating dock at Island Park downtown near the Helena Street bridge. With the assistance of coaches Mike and Trish Miles and faculty adviser Dave Lee, an associate professor of management, the team started to raise money for some smaller racing shells and a coach’s launch. That spring, the club hosted its first regatta.

“UD's first race in 1992 was the start of the sport in the Dayton area and led to the development of community rowing locally,” Mike Miles said.

In 1999, women’s rowing became a varsity sport, and in 2006, the team moved its home base to the Dayton Boat Club, set on a longer stretch of the Great Miami River in Moraine, Ohio. 

“Seeing that note from Dave Lee brings back such fond memories,” said Miles, who coached the team 12 years before starting the Dayton Boat Club. “It's incredible what UD and its rowing programs have done coming from such humble beginnings — from an $800 old, used, shell to crews that have won the A-10 and medaled in national competition. Add to that a world champion (Bernadette Marten ’00) and a couple of All-Americans (Marten and Paul Coomes ’95).”

UD WOMEN’S ROWING TODAY

Under the leadership of head coach Mike Wenker and novice coach Emilie Gross, UD women’s rowing now has 36 rowers, a fleet of 11 shells at the Dayton Boat Club and an indoor training facility in the Frericks Center with 20 ergometers. They’ll host Marquette University in a regatta March 18 at Eastwood MetroPark in Dayton.

UD MEN’S ROWING TODAY

UD men’s rowing, a club program with 17 rowers, competes across the Midwest and in the Dad Vail Regatta, held every May on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. It’s coached by Marty Carrabine ’13, who rowed four years with the team and is now an engineer with Booz Allen Hamilton.

ABOUT ECOMMONS

The University’s institutional repository, eCommons, contains an archive of more than 10,000 news releases and other media communications sent from 1955 to the present. Documents in the collection have been downloaded more than 22,000 times since the repository became available in late 2013.

— Maureen Schlangen, e-scholarship and communications manager

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