newest team has only been working together for two weeks, but they are two weeks away from the season’s biggest event. The 15 rowers on Milton Crew have been in the water for the past two weeks and are looking ahead to competing in the Massachusetts Public School Rowing Association (MPSRA) Spring Championships in Lowell on May 29.
Though the team, which plans to race a girls eight and a boys four, will first compete at an event on May 22 on the Mystic River, their big test is the MPSRA event.
While Friends of Milton Crew President John Rhee doesn’t expect the young team to medal, he says the experience is the important factor.
“It’s being present,” Rhee said. “That’s how they all start.”
The brand new team already has a solid group of sixteen members, though one will miss the inaugural season due to an injury. The team is primarily sophomores with some freshmen and one junior.
Coach Tim Huth is leading the charge with help from Amanda Mawn, who rowed at UMass Amherst, and Ed McCormick.
Huth came to Milton after coaching in Naragansett. Prior to coaching, he rowed at Cornell.
“He’s a very young coach, but a very good coach,” said McCormick, who has coached rowing for 26 years.
McCormick has always been interested in coaching at new programs, making the Wildcats’ maiden voyage a perfect fit for him. For the past seven and a half years, McCormick was with the Central High team in New Hampshire. After starting with 14 rowers, the program has grown to between 60 and 80 participants each year.
Rhee has been happy with the coaches thus far as they prepare the new rowers for the season.
“The coaches have been really good, teaching them how to row and what to expect,” said Rhee.
Since the Friends of Milton Crew pitched the program, a great emphasis has been placed on safety. Every member of the team has taken and passed a swimming test. Huth and the other coaches have also taught them everything incrementally.
“We’re being very safe and very systematic,” said McCormick of the coaching staff’s teaching style.
Rhee added that the team first learned how to carry the boat, and then place it in the water. Eventually, they learned the basics by paddling around and then going out a little further on to the Neponset River.
Though Milton Crew’s eventual home will be at Neponset Park in Dorchester, the team is currently working out of Milton Landing until the dock is complete. Rhee called the members of the Milton Yacht Club, which maintains the landing, very gracious over the past few weeks.
Through the support of Superintendent Mary Gormley and the School Committee, Rhee hopes the team, which is currently designated as a club sport, will soon become a varsity sport.
“I hope by the time they graduate, they get recognition,” said Rhee, adding a Memorandum of Understanding between the Friends and the school is already in the works, making the recognition likely.