Adaptive Rowing - Be The One

Click the title above ("Adaptive Rowing - Be The One") to watch our entry for The Giving Challenge - learn more about our program, our rowers, and our coaches.  Donations to support our program are very welcome!

Special thanks to the Sarasota Medical Alliance Foundation for collaboration and production of this promotional video short.  

 

 

2012 Head of the Charles Update

We received an update from Betsy Mitchell about her adventure to the HOCR.

We are having a great time. We arrived in Boson at around 2pm. The taxi ride from the airport was a delight as the trees were showing some wonderful fall colors with the setting of city backdrop. It was exciting to drive along the river where we saw lots of boats practicing and many more parked on trailers. We went straight to the Northeastern boathouse and met up with Patrick Johnson...
We rigged the three boats and enjoyed watching boats practicing past the boathouse. It was great having Joe able to point out different boats, teams, strengths and challenges. There was a drizzling rain which kept things cool. We also saw one of the national women’s teams who went by all rowing on the square. We headed out in the van after 5pm, suitcases loaded in the back. Dave drove us through some heavy neighborhood traffic to the prearranged restaurant, a Mexican Cantina, which was a welcome relief as we hadn’t had lunch ! We all dove in to the chips and salsa! Eventually Oksana Masters and Rob Jones arrived and we all clapped as they joined their group. The rock stars had arrived ! They gave out several oar paddle gifts to their coaches including one to Patrick. It was about this time that my cell phone camera went down. Fortunately several people took pictures .
We then headed to the airport where we spent a while waiting for competitor Dan’s delayed flight from DC. He and his wife, Stephanie finally arrived and we all headed to the hotel. During check in, Dan’s rowing partner, Travis Green arrived along with his wife and their 4 daughters (all under the age of 7 including a baby, who had driven. (well ,not the baby)
It is like a homecoming as we have been together at the Bayada and Anacostia. The camaraderie makes being part of the adaptive rowing community a special honor as there is support for one another, though competitors on the water. This is true sportsmanship.
Saturday morning we will gather in the lobby at 11 am and return to the boathouse, practice and enjoy the races, booths and ambiance. It is hard to believe that we are really here !
Patrick shared with us in the van a story of how rowing had had such a deep personal impact in healing for both Oksana and Rob. It is inspiring to hear those stories and to see firsthand how each person is impacted in such a positive way. Thanks Joe and Todd, you both are making a difference in so many lives and it is exciting to see our program grow.
— Betsy Mitchell

Busy Adaptive Athletes

Our adaptive rowers have been busy making great progress lately! Here are a few highlights to share.

  • The coaches of the Sarasota Adaptive Rowing Program are pleased that the newest member of the program, Carlen Olson, has been on the water several times following several weeks of training, erg practices and evaluation. Carlen is the first adaptive rower in the program who is blind. She first went out on the water on September 6th, 2012 in a single to begin learning the basics of sculling technique. She has been out in a double scull with Todd Yeomans and is making incredible progress. Carlen is a self-professed perfectionist with an "exaggerated sense of independence", as she puts it. She is eager to improve each time that she is out on the water.  She has set a goal to compete at the 2013 Sarasota Invitational Regatta! Keep up the good work, Carlen!
Carlen adapted well to sculling!

Carlen adapted well to sculling!

  • Jack Gerber rowed an adaptive exhibition event at the Sarasota 5000 on September 30th, 2012. This was the first time Jack was able to row his single at a regatta! Previously, he has rowed in the adaptive double events at three regattas this year. Keep up the good work, Jack!
Jack Gerber rowing his adaptive single at the 2012 Sarasota 5000!

Jack Gerber rowing his adaptive single at the 2012 Sarasota 5000!

  • Besty Mitchell won the GOLD with Keniel Martinez of Athletes Without Limits at the Head of the Anacostia on Saturday, September 29th, 2012. After the race, they ate apple pie and celebrated their win. As this entry is being posted, Betsy and Joe Dobson are on their way to the Head of the Charles in Boston, where Betsy will compete again with Keniel as her partner in the double on Sunday, October 21st at 8:16am. Check for live coverage on Regatta Central and Row2K! This year, Betsy and Keniel will be competing against the reigning London Paralympic Bronze medalists, Rob Jones and Oksana Masters. Go, Betsy, Go!
Betsy Mitchell and Keniel Martinez with AWL coach Patrick L. Johnson

Betsy Mitchell and Keniel Martinez with AWL coach Patrick L. Johnson

Congratulations to Rob Jones and Oksana Masters!

Congratulations to Rob Jones and Oksana Masters who won Bronze in the TA Mix 2x  in August at the 2012  Paralympics held at Eton Dorney in London.  We were pleased to host them while they were in Sarasota in February for the Sarasota Invitational Regatta.  They performed beautifully during a particularly windy day  on the racecourse and left a fine impression on the rowers at the event at Nathan Benderson Park.

Here is a link to an incredible article that appeared in Spirit, the magazine of Southwest Airlines, about Oksana Masters.

Oksana Masters and Rob Jones at the 2012 Sarasota Invitational Regatta.

Oksana Masters and Rob Jones at the 2012 Sarasota Invitational Regatta.

Sarasota Adaptive Rowers Compete in Philadelphia's Bayada Regatta

Adaptive athletes from the Sarasota County Rowing Club's Adaptive Rowing Program (SARP) competed successfully at the Bayada Regatta held in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 18, 2012. The Bayada Regatta, in its 31st year, is the longest-running adaptive rowing regatta in the country. Billed as "Freedom on the River," the event takes place on a 1,000-meter race course, using both full and half distance on the Schuylkill River. Adaptive rowers from all over the U.S. race in a variety of categories based on classified disability.

The Sarasota participants included SARP coaches Joe Dobson and Todd Yeomans who accompanied adaptive rowers Betsy Mitchell and Jack Gerber in a total of three races. Yeomans joined Gerber in a double, placing fourth in the men's LTA category (Legs, Trunk and Arms). Mitchell placed first in two races, rowing in a single, and also in a double with partner Keniel Martinez of Athletes Without Limits Club of DC in classification TA (Trunk and Arms). Martinez is coached by Patrick L. Johnson.

Mitchell won both her races by a significant margin, 8.9 seconds ahead in her 1000-meter TA 1x race, finishing with a time of 5:13.42, and 7.79 seconds ahead in the 1000-meter TA Mixed-2x race, with a time of 5:05.42. Notably, the second-place Mixed-2x boat was rowed by Paralympic champion, Laura Schwanger, who won a Bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Betsy and Keniel will join forces again at the Head of the Anacostia and Head of the Potomac Regattas September, 29th and 30th, before competing in Boston at the famed Head of the Charles in October.

In addition to the accomplishments of SARP's athletes, the Sarasota-based rowing program was also honored at the event by being selected to receive a new Wintech race boat (the standard for adaptive rowers) as well as a pair of Concept 2 oars. The new boat was awarded by event founders and benefactors Mark and Anne Baiada. SARP's coaches and participants are thrilled to be recognized in what has become a tradition at the annual event.

SARP's coaches and adaptive rowers are available for interviews and/or to provide additional information on the adaptive rowing program. SARP is a chapter affiliated with Friends of Sarasota County Parks, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Keniel Martinez and Betsy Mitchell

Keniel Martinez and Betsy Mitchell

Gold Medal Winners in the Trunk and Arms Mixed Double!

Gold Medal Winners in the Trunk and Arms Mixed Double!

Jack Gerber and Todd Yeomans competed in the Novice LTA Double at the 2012 Bayada Regatta.

Jack Gerber and Todd Yeomans competed in the Novice LTA Double at the 2012 Bayada Regatta.

Regatta Founder Mark Baiada (Left) and Joe Dobson discussing adaptive rowing at the 2012 Bayada Regatta.

Regatta Founder Mark Baiada (Left) and Joe Dobson discussing adaptive rowing at the 2012 Bayada Regatta.