ROCHESTER, MN — Some local rowers were recently in Texas to train before the ice melted in our area, but now they are dealing with challenges beyond what they typically face in the water.
Boats may be some of the equipment that they use but many of their other items are now gone.
Rowing is not the most popular sport in the U.S., but those who take part in it love it.
“You really bond with each other and you really learn the meaning of team and it also takes a lot of hard work, so just learning to persevere,” said Christina Drexler, one of the Rochester Rowing Club captains.
Now the Rochester Rowing Club’s perseverance is being put to the test.
Each year over spring break they go to Texas or Tennessee, this year they went to the Lone Star State. When they were there, the club’s SUV and all of its contents were stolen, the stuff inside was worth nearly $6,000.
“We still have to do the same things every day, we still go to practice, we still work hard,” Drexler said, “It’s a little more difficult, but we still put in the work and just keep moving forward.”
For the rowing club, moving forward means raising more money for new equipment, which can be difficult at times, because they are independent from the schools, meaning they get no funding.
“To make ends meet we have to run a couple of fundraisers every year,” said head coach John Bartucz, “All of our coaches are volunteers.”
Now they are doing more fundraising on top of what they would typically do. Businesses have done their part to help with gift cards and items like backpacks, shirts and more.
“Some of the U.S. National Team rowing members have even donated their rowing gear or pictures from the Olympics, stuff like that and so it’s pretty cool, the community has come to help us out,” Bartucz said.
That support means a lot to them since many of these kids are trying to earn a scholarship in rowing as a way to help pay for college.
“They can’t just call up the coach and say, you know I was going to be really good this year,” Bartucz said, “It’s tough for them when they have big college aspirations.”
Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, the students are taking this and making it a valuable lesson to use in life.
“It’ll help us learn how to cope with things and learn how to move forward, we still have the same practices, we’re still going to be competitive this season,” Drexler said.
The Rochester Rowing Club will be holding a pancake breakfast this coming Sunday, April, 21 at the Eagle’s Club in Rochester. The event is $6 per person and is all you can eat with an auction also taking place.
For more information on how you can help please visit the Rochester Rowing Club’s website.