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Community Rowing: Erg Cum Laude

Posted on 05 February 2010

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There’s always a way to practice and there’s always a way to compete. All it takes is a little effort and imagination and the benefits are often rewarding.

That’s what Pierson and Ross students participating in the Sag Harbor Community Rowing’s winter program learned on Sunday. Five team members and two parents joined their coach, Lee Oldak, for “Erg for Mercy”, an indoor rowing event held at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, and all, including the two parents and the coach, came away with medals

The event Sunday put the students and their coach on rowing machines–ergometers–to complete a 2000-meter “course”; the parents were kept to a more modest 500 meters.

Competing in novice divisions designed for those with less than a year of experience, the Sag Harbor rowers showed that their bi-weekly training sessions in the Pierson weight room are already paying off.

Pierson sophomore Bo Dermont took first in the heavyweight novice group with Carolyn Comber, a Pierson senior, rowing in the junior varsity division and coming in first there. Pierson sophomore Kyle Polley placed second in the boys’ novice division while Haley Smith and Madeline Kiss from The Ross School came in first and second in the girls’ novice division.

“We were all very pleased,” said Coach Oldak on Monday. “Bo’s final time would have placed him third had he competed in the varsity division and that’s quite an accomplishment; those other guys go five days a week. I thought I’d put Carolyn into a division that might be too tough for her. I was second-guessing myself thinking that I should have kept her a novice, and then she went out and won.”

The parents that rowed were Stacy Dermont, winner of the Mom Division, and Polley’s mother, Randi Meshirer, who came in third.

In summing up what the team learned, Coach Oldak added, “Not everyone was sure what they were doing all this work for, but now everyone can see it and they’re all excited about doing this again.”


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Sag Harbor Community Rowing provides a club program for Ross and Pierson students in the fall and spring. The participants practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Sag Harbor Cove during their seasons.

Since early January, the club’s rowers have been coming into Pierson on Tuesdays and Thursdays and honing their stroke and improving their conditioning on the Pierson equipment. Already Coach Oldak is looking forward to early April and getting back on the water to train for the team’s first regatta in late April.

Before that happens though, there is one more indoor “race” set for March 3 at Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset.

The East Hampton RECenter YMCA held its initial erg training session last night, Coach Oldak working with Health Enhancement Director Rosie Orlando to tailor a Wednesday 5:30 to 7 p.m. “erg” program for both kids and adults. To learn more about the RECenter’s program, call 329-6884, extension 20.

Those interested in Sag Harbor Community Rowing can call Coach Oldak at 553-5223.


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One Response to “Community Rowing: Erg Cum Laude”

  1. honesty needed says:

    This is just a wonderful accomplishment and opportunity for us all! Congrats!


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