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East County Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2009 8 years ago

Water Workout

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

SARASOTA — Nolan Middle School eighth-grader Shannon Kehoe isn’t one to shy away from a challenging workout — no matter how intense it may be.

The 12-year-old runner and soccer player is used to feeling the demands of participating in youth and middle school athletics, but this past week, Kehoe took on a new sport, which left her muscles reeling.

Kehoe was one of about 12 students who participated in the Sarasota Scullers summer teen rowing camp July 20-31 at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. During the two-week session, Kehoe, a Myakka City resident, spent more than 20 hours out on the water learning the relatively unknown sport.

“My legs were more sore, but I guess it’s a good thing because I guess it shows that you’re really working hard,” Kehoe said.

Kehoe decided to participate in the camp after searching for a fun and unique way to spend her summer. Now, she can’t seem to get enough of the sport.

“I really enjoy rowing, and all of the people there are a lot of fun,” said Kehoe, who hopes to join either a high school rowing team or the Sarasota Scullers. “It’s just so much fun, and it’s something I plan on doing for as long as I can, so I figure I should get as much practice as I can.”

During the camp, participants learned the different aspects associated with rowing and sculling, including different drills and how to work together as a team and follow the person in front of you, among others.

“Rowing doesn’t necessarily require any special skills,” said Dragos “Alex” Alexandru, coach of the Sarasota Scullers Youth Rowing Program and a former Romanian Olympic team rower. “I don’t think it’s a very challenging or hard sport — it’s just a new sport.

“Rowing is an ultimate team sport because your timing has to be precise because you work has an impact on other people,” he said. “The team aspect for some kids is a novelty because they don’t think they necessarily have to (work) as a team. We have no quarterbacks in rowing. … You have to be part of this team effort from the get go.”

This week, the students will compete in a mini regatta on the final day of camp against participants from the camp’s other rowing site located at Blackburn Point Park. The regatta will give students an opportunity to show off the various skills they learned throughout the camp as they compete for bragging rights.

This is the first year that the Sarasota Scullers held its summer rowing camp on Nathan Benderson Park’s 400-acre lake. After the East County park served as the site of the high school and collegiate rowing championships earlier this spring, Alexandru and the rest of the Scullers staff decided to incorporate it into their program.

“The goal is basically to expose students to this new rowing site that we have,” Alexandru said. “There are a bunch of kids who have no rowing options, so we want to let those kids know that we do have a rowing option that’s close to their schools. I’m just trying to offer this to kids who don’t know what rowing is because they don’t have anyone to show them what rowing is.”

For more information on the Sarasota Scullers visit the organization’s Web site at or call 966-2244.

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].

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