Thomas Gorman: I am a professional photographer and have lived in Chesapeake for over 9 years. My introduction to the sport began thru my son who rowed for four years at Hickory High School. I joined Juniper three years ago and enjoy that the club wants to get better and offers a chance to compete in races and regattas, but also is casual and you can row at your own level. The club offers such a variety of experience and the members make it a very friendly and fun activity!
Kyle Cottrell: I am a mom, a retired Marine and the Director of the Chesapeake Volleyball Club. I love athletics of all kinds and was thrilled to discover Juniper Rowing Club. I discovered crew in college in the 1980s near Philadelphia and again during graduate school in 2002 near Boston. I have always loved the sport. In the military, I have lived all over the world and found most recreational rowing clubs to either be too exclusive or too expensive. It wasn’t until we moved to Chesapeake that I found the ideal club–open to all and reasonably priced! There are some wonderful mentors eager to share their knowledge and experience.
Now I am a recreational rower and prefer sculling. The non-impact nature of rowing has been invaluable to my joints and it is an excellent athletic transition as I near middle-age. While I can’t often get to the group practices or events, I enjoy getting out on the water when my kids are in school. The stresses of the day disappear out on the water! Whether you are looking to compete in regattas or simply get fit outdoors, there is a place for you in this club!
Amy Hansen: I’m a New England transplant who found herself moving here with her husband in 1991. I started rowing back in high school at a small lake up in Connecticut and was hooked. I continued to row in college down in Florida but then took a considerable break to get married and start a family. It wasn’t until I met our founding father, Tim Kerr, in 2002 that the thought of rowing came back to me. We formed a small club which began to grow through word of mouth to a formidable size. Our members were mostly inexperienced but learned to row and love the sport as I did. Many chose to stay recreational rowers but I loved the thrill of competition and the challenge of the sport. By 2006, I was fast enough to be competitive during the FISA World Masters in Princeton, NJ. Personally, rowing was the impetus to help me regain my own identity and has helped me challenge myself on many levels.
Joe Bell: I’m in Industrial equipment sales and I work for Norton Sandblasting Equipment. I was born in Norfolk, lived in Sussex County and have been in Chesapeake for 26 years. I have always enjoyed sports, I played organized football as a youth and participated in football and track in high school. After college I continued with running and by that time organized 5K’s, 10K’s and marathons were becoming popular. I competed in these races for many years, and then the knees and ankles started to wear out and I stopped running 9 – 10 years ago. Several times through the years I saw people with very skinny boats on their cars and dreamed about one day trying to row one, but none of my friends had boats like that and I thought that I would never get an opportunity give it a go. Then about 9 years ago I was at a wedding and I met Carl Edwards, a very enthusiastic member of Juniper Rowing Club. Carl knew I enjoyed water sports and told me about Juniper. The next week I went out and was asked if I wanted to go in the launch and see how it was done, “no” I answered, “I want to row”; I was hooked! It was a rough start as I didn’t know any of the terminology, or proper technique, but the members were very patient with me and eventually I caught on. I have been with Juniper for 9 years now and I enjoy it for many reasons: it provides excellent exercise in a beautiful environment, I have met a lot of interesting people from varied backgrounds and of all ages, and I love the competition. Like a lot of exercise I think the benefits are as much mental as physical, when out on the water the worries of the day vanish as you’re focused on the task at hand: moving at a smooth, steady pace. I have participated in regattas in singles, doubles, fours and eights. and I get the same butterflies in my stomach as we row up to the starting line for a race as I did prior to the kickoff of my first organized football game, over 50 years ago! Rowing is an amazing sport in that people of all ages can participate at whatever level they’re comfortable at, either recreational or highly competitive.