By Samantha Haase
DE PERE – After a long hiatus, rowing club has returned to St. Norbert College (SNC).
SNC partners with La Baie Verte Rowing Club (LBVRC), a local rowing club based in Green Bay, which provides rowing lessons to students.
Rowing had been at St. Norbert College for years before two coaches retired and the state shut down due to COVID-19.
Delaney Hennes, class of 2025, transferred to SNC with previous rowing experience and wanted to continue rowing through the college.
Hennes arrived with hopes of hitting the water but instead was met with the knowledge that there was no club to join.
“I didn’t think much else when I learned this but, ‘I guess I have to start it back up, then.’ I reached out to La Baie Verte Rowing Club about joining the private club and starting the SNC team back up, and Sara and the members of LBVRC were massively supportive. They’ve been so welcoming, and help organize and mentor students through practices on and off the water; LBVRC has been the driving force in getting students back on the water, and it’s been so fun to work with them as our team grows,” Hennes said.
Sara Dvorak of LBVRC stepped up and became the lead volunteer coach of SNC students in the fall of 2022.
Before joining LBVRC, Sara was on the SNC rowing team during her years as a student.
“I love the direction SNC rowing is taking and the partnership they have with LBVRC. The experienced members of LBV mentor and coach the SNC rowers… There are some mornings where we have three generations of rowers on the water: rowers from college age to our oldest at 74,” Dvorak explained.
The SNC rowing club is still finding its footing but the combination of SNC and LBVRC makes it worth the effort.
“The season thus far has been really, really fun. We have 11 dedicated students, seven novices and three returning members from 2022-23. The seven novices (100% new to rowing) have been showing up at the boathouse on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 5:30 a.m. for a few weeks now, learning a challenging sport in the dark,” Dvorak said.
“Learning to row and sitting in a boat, moving ‘backwards’ with eight other individuals, working together, moving together, learning to work as a team, trusting each other, possibly getting frustrated, but then persevering and coming back for either that next stroke or the next practice takes dedication and persistence. It’s something you carry with you for the rest of your life. Lessons learned on water carry over to land in a huge way.”
Like any sport, rowing is challenging and pushes athletes to learn new skills. St. Norbert student and rower Cici Bart said, “While brutally early in the morning, rowing has rapidly evolved into my favorite way to start my day. It’s the weirdest sport I’ve ever done but I love working with a team and it has challenged my technical abilities more than any other sport.”
Early mornings from about late March to early November rowers can be seen in bright colors on the Fox River.
For safety reasons, rowers are encouraged to wear neon colors to make themselves more visible to other people who might be on the water.
But, rowing is not all about competition; it fosters relationships among people who might not have interacted with each other before.
All ages and personalities come together on the water to work as one team.
“It’s been the dream to have a full SNC boat on the river, and achieving that was definitely one of my greatest memories at SNC thus far,” Hennes added. “Knowing that I could be a part of this beautiful, strong community forever is inspiring.”