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Youth rowing club teaches teamwork

June 5, 2011
By JOHANNA BOYLE - Journal Ishpeming Bureau ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Rowing is all about teamwork.

Teams have to work together to pick up their 250-300 pound shell, or boat, each person working to hoist it over their heads to bring it from the trailer to the water. Once out on the water, the team has to be in sync, moving together to power the shell forward using long oars.

You could say it's the ultimate team sport.

Article Photos

From left, Jakob Bogo, Morgan AcAuliffe, Kathleen Noblet and Ben Harris practice carrying a rowing shell at Founders Landing last June. (Journal file photo by Danielle Pemble)

"It's one of the most team sports there is," said Terry Dehring, who coaches the Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club's youth rowing team along with Ann Piereson and Stephanie Savoie. "Everybody has to row together. They have to row at the same speed to make the boat go straight."

The youth rowing club, as well as the adult club, will be kicking off its summer season in the coming weeks, and is looking for high school-aged students to come out and give rowing a try.

The club will be holding dry-land training and its required swim testing Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the PEIF building on the campus of Northern Michigan University for those who are interested in participating this year.

"You don't have to have any prior experience. We teach you everything," Savoie said. Savoie is a recent graduate of NMU, who began rowing with the university's team.

Those participating in the team meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10-11:30 a.m. at Founder's Landing in Marquette. A fee of $100 includes six weeks of training and participation for the rest of the season, as well as entry into the club's regatta on Teal Lake on Sept. 18.

"I'd seen them out on the lake before and it looked like a lot of fun," said McKenna Henning, 15, who just finished her sophomore year at Marquette Senior High School and started rowing with the club last summer. "Now I love it."

The club teaches new members how to perform the rowing stroke and how to care for the equipment.

"It was different, but it was easy to learn and the teachers are great so you catch on pretty fast," Henning said.

For practice, the team rows in the Lower Harbor, staying inside the breakwater and 200 meters from shore at all times. All of the rowers are required to wear a lifejacket at all times and the shells are accompanied by a motor-powered safety launch, in the unlikely event of an emergency.

To be able to participate, teens must be able to pass a swim test - treading water for five minutes in shorts and a t-shirt and swimming 50 yards in a pool - and lift 30 pounds overhead. During the dry land training on Tuesday, they'll also be able to try out a rowing machine, called an ergometer or erg, which will help them learn the stroke before heading out onto the water. Those who plan on participating in the swim test should bring a change of clothing and a lifejacket.

Once training starts on the lake, meeting three times a week helps the group form a cohesive team.

"It's all teamwork," Henning said. "The more you work together, the faster you go."

For more information, contact Piereson at 906-485-6160 or Dehring at 906-228-8329 or check out Upper Peninsula Rowing Club on Facebook.

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is



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