Crew is a great sport to play in Buffalo. After all, Buffalo is right by the water.
Two boathouses are located in Buffalo, the West Side Rowing Club (WSRC) and the Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association (BSRA).
BSRA was founded in 2010 and its crews row right by Canalside, while WSRC was founded in 1912 and its crews row in the Black Rock Canal.
These boathouses have club teams and teams from high schools such as Canisius High School, Nardin Academy and St. Joe’s, that row out of them.
However, during the summer, the boathouses have only a club team, in which high schoolers from any school compete together against other clubs.
In the winter, teams work out, building muscle for spring, the competitive season of rowing.
Recently, the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta took place at St. Catharines Rowing Club. West Side Rowing Club took home two gold medals in events known as the Women’s U19 coxed four and the Men’s U23 lightweight four. Buffalo Scholastic took home no gold medals this year.
Other well-known competitions include the New York State Scholastic Championships, held in Saratoga Springs, usually around Mother’s Day, and the U.S. Rowing Youth Nationals, which take place in June at Sarasota, Fla. Many rowers in Western New York train for these events.
Mark Kostrzewski, the president at Buffalo Scholastic, said in a interview that rowing takes dedication, focus, teamwork, and talent. Kostrzewski has been a rower for 45 years, won or medaled in many championships, and coached for several years, both on a high school and college level.
Persistence is the key to rowing. Even if a rower isn’t very good at first, they can improve with persistence.
Frances McGuire, a rowing coach at West Side, said that rowing takes "a tremendous amount of dedication and comes right down to hard work."
McGuire has rowed for nine years and coaches at West Side today. While she no longer rows, she coaches on a high school level at Nardin Academy during the school season. During the summer season, she coaches the West Side Junior Women.
Rowing can leave quite an impact on a person and their family. Kostrzewski said that "It’s [rowing] in my blood." Kostrzewski’s daughter and son have rowed, both at high levels.
McGuire says that she enjoys "the feeling of teamwork when a boat is moving fast." She also claims that "it’s extremely rewarding to see hard work pay off. "
She went on to say that "of all the sports I have played (many), rowing is by far the most painful. I think that is what makes winning a race so memorable – the fact that you and your teammates have pushed past a pain threshold for each other to come out on top."
Some people from Western New York have even gone on to row in the Olympics. In fact, a rower from West Side has rowed in every summer Olympics since 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Spain. Not the same rower of course, but it certainly is quite an accomplishment.
Crew may be a strenuous sport, but it certainly is a good one.
In the words of one rower, "Rowing is great, except when you’re rowing." By saying this, he means that sometimes you want to quit rowing and give up, but you have got to keep going and row on.
Andrew Skakal is a freshman at Canisius High School.