By Amber Selke
Head Coach, Great Lakes Bay Crew
As the ice thawed last Spring, the Bay City Rowing Center prepared for a new High School Rowing team and as their coach, my goal was to develop at least an 8. One look in their boathouse and I knew it was possible, there were plenty of boats, eights, fours, two doubles and multiple singles that could launch from a long dock just steps away. We just needed butts on seats, as they say.
I had coached a number of crews from Boston College to Berkeley High School and was excited to start a new program, especially one that could bring students together and possibly generate college scholarships. But new to the area, I had no idea what to expect.
The folks in the club were very supportive and on board to recruit for this first season. We went to area schools to introduce the sport and encourage everyone to show up. Known as the Great Lakes Bay Crew (GLBC), 24 students from: Midland Dow, Midland High, Bay City Western plus Home School programs learned to row and compete in three sessions per week from late April to October, 2018.
GLBC competed in three major regattas in Grand Rapids (the Michigan Games), Ann Arbor and Lake Leelanau where they raced fours, an eight and a double, earning gold and silver medals along the way. At least one student is being recruited for a rowing scholarship with the potential for others. The foundation for high school rowing has been laid and clearly surpassed my goal.
May next season bring even more students to row on the Saginaw River, thanks to the Bay City Rowing Center!