Community wellness through rowing


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  • 11 Jul 2013 11:01 PM | Deleted user

    "People may have seen us on the river now and then, or at regattas in the park, but just may not know the extent and the history," says Landon Bartley, president of Grand Rapids Rowing Association (GRRA). "Rowing has been around in Grand Rapids a lot longer than people think."

    In fact, the first records of rowing in Grand Rapids are from the 1880s, and the first boathouse for the city's rowing club was built in 1910 at North Park NE and Monroe. That boathouse was destroyed in a fire in 1960, and the popularity of the sport on the Grand River waned.

    Story continues at Rapid Growth.

  • 22 Apr 2012 12:37 PM | Deleted user
    Standing on the floating dock of the Grand Rapids Rowing Association (GRRA), I found myself in a situation I'm not used to.

    I was about to try something I've never done before: Rowing a sculling shell.

    With the 2012 Mid-American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta (MACRA) coming up next weekend, I decided I needed to know what this sport was all about.

    What better way than to plunge (hopefully not) right in and try it out. I'm a pretty outgoing guy, not usually afraid of a challenge, and I was approaching it with a fair amount of confidence.

    Continue reading and view the video at

  • 20 Apr 2012 8:30 AM | Deleted user
    For most people, the act of rowing involves a wide aluminum boat, their grandparents' pond and the probability of going around in circles until someone comes to tow you to shore.

    That's not what we're going to be talking about here.

    The Grand Rapids Rowing Association is hosting the 2012 Mid-American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta (MACRA) in just over a week and its time to learn some sport speak.

    Regatta is either derived from the Italian word for "line" (as in starting line) or the Latin words for "race" or "oar," experts haven't sorted that out. But what we know is that it's about people rowing in long, thin boats and trying to finish first.

    For the complete story go to MLive

  • 20 Mar 2012 2:31 PM | Deleted user
    More than a thousand athletes will be converging on Grand Rapids at the end of April to compete on the Grand River in the Mid American Collegiate Rowing Association (MACRA) Championship Regatta, organizers announced today.

    Big Ten teams, Notre Dame and others involved in MACRA will compete in the regatta, which will have multiple heat races starting at 8 a.m., with final races finishing late in the afternoon on April 28.

    The races, which will be free for spectators to watch, will start at Riverside Park and finish just north of Ann Street on the north side of Grand Rapids. The event is being hosted by the Grand Rapids Rowing Association and promoted by newly formed group "This is How We Row," dedicated to promoting the sport of rowing and organizing host families and volunteers for the event.

    Docks and lanes will start to appear in the river in coming weeks as preparations are made for nearly 1,500 athletes to compete on the 2,000-meter course, said Fred Keller, CEO of Cascade Engineering.

    Keller, a former crew member at Cornell University, described the importance of teamwork in these rowing events.

    "It's a very different sport than other team sports," he said. "In this sport, you're feeling like you're part of the shell (of the boat). You're trying to make every ounce of your energy work to make sure you have a successful boat."

    Grand Rapids Rowing Association president Landon Bartley loves the idea of hosting such a large event on the Grand River.

    "This is one of the best rowing venues in the Midwest," Bartley said. "It's wide and fairly shallow and even and sheltered and it's beautiful. It's a great spectator area at Riverside Park, and so it really wasn't too hard to convince the coaches to come back."

    To read complete article go to MLive

  • 27 May 2011 11:12 PM | Deleted user

    GRAND RAPIDS - Mayor George Heartwell blended right in with eight rowers as they hauled a 54-foot row boat on their shoulders to the dock near the Grand Rapids Boathouse, 291 North Park Street NW, on Friday morning.

    The rowers gently placed the 250-pound, eight-person shell into the Grand River and jumped into the sliding seats before strapping their feet into the built-in shoes in the boat. The ninth person on the boat, the leading coxswain, sits facing the rowers in the very front of the shell, giving directions through a microphone.

    Story, video and photos at Mlive.

  • 14 Sep 2009 7:30 PM | Deleted user
    What divides them is what unites them. About 45 kids from various high schools across Grand Rapids get into rowing shells and become a team. They have no school spirit to work with, no school mascot to rally around. This is about building teamwork, camaraderie, and ultimately, tapping competitive spirit.

    After practicing together four evenings a week for nine weeks, two hours at a time, they learn to row in sync and become a crew. When they step into a boat at a regatta, it’s not about being from Ottawa Hills or City High School – it’s about being from Grand Rapids Crew.

    Besides City and Ottawa Hills, kids on the Grand Rapids Crew come from Catholic Central, Grand Rapids Christian, West Catholic, and suburban schools like Comstock Park and Kenowa Hills. Some are also home schooled. This is also recruiting time, so the list of schools may grow.

    Landon Bartley, men’s varsity coach, says they’ve always been a community program, accepting kids from wherever in the Grand Rapids area there is interest. Rockford, Forest Hills, and East Grand Rapids all have their own programs with school identities. Not so with Grand Rapids. “We’ve never had a problem with kids from other schools,” he says about kids who dig meeting other new kids. “We say, ‘You wanna beat Rockford?’ and they say, ‘Yeah!’” In rowing, it’s boat against boat."

    The sun snuggles toward the horizon as the launch and shells pull up to the dock, oars are freed from their oarlocks, and rowers heft the equipment the long walk back up to the boathouse. The Grand Rapids Crew operates out of the Grand Rapids Rowing Association facilities in Comstock Park, just upstream from the original Boat and Canoe Club in North Park. Practices are Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. This crew will pick up in a couple of days where they left off, building teamwork, camaraderie, and competitive spirit.

    To read complete article go to The Rapidian
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