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Philly kids gain exposure to rowing through PCR

Randell Daniels used to ride his bike across the Girard Avenue Bridge and stop in the middle to watch the rowers on the Schuylkill River.

"I always wondered what that was like," said Daniels, a senior at Parkway Center City High School.

Thanks to the Philadelphia City Rowing club, Daniels doesn't watch the sport from a distance anymore. The 18-year-old and his teammates were on water Friday at the 85th annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta.

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Urban Rows

The rowing clubs nestled along the
banks of the Schuylkill River on Kelly Drive in
Philadelphia haven’t seen a lot of change in the decades they have been there. It’s been the same with
the city’s rowing community.

As big as the sport is in the city, and as much
of a landmark as Boathouse Row has been, it has
never attracted participation from the Philadelphia’s
large urban high schools and neighborhoods.

Until now.

Starting with the passion of a past U.S. National Team athlete who was motivated by a bout

Libby Peters rowing with renewed purpose

Libby Peters had a tough battle on her hands.

She had been an outstanding athlete at Columbia University, captain and two-time MVP of the crew team, twice a world indoor champion and a bronze medal winner in the World Rowing Championships.

She was headed for a shot at Olympic competition and, maybe, law school.
Then, in the spring of 2009, at age 25, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The day the river became everybody's

When our youngest son, Benjamin, signed up for a two-week rowing camp sponsored by Philadelphia City Rowing, we thought it would expose him to something different, allow him to meet new friends, and keep him occupied for two weeks. It did much more.

The camp was one of three sessions designed to introduce students from Philadelphia's public high schools to rowing and prepare them to compete on a citywide team in the fall. The participants met daily at the club's yard on historic Boathouse Row, on the east bank of the Schuylkill.

Crew try-outs for Philadelphia public schools

The upcoming school year will feature a new sport in the Philadelphia school district. Rowing is now available for students at public high schools. The program is attempting to bridge the sport's deeply entrenched class gap.

Libby Peters is the founder of Philadelphia City Rowing. She's also the coach for the girls' team.

"It doesn't matter that you don't have rowing background. Just think about all the athletic experiences where you've had to really push yourself. That's what you've got to do now, OK?"

Selling Rowing as an Urban Escape

Olympic gold-medal champion Dan Beery was nervous.

There he was, 35 years old, 224 pounds, 6 feet, 7 inches of world-record-holding athlete. A man who had clobbered tough competition. But now he faced a classroom of skeptical, seen-it-all students.

Who wouldn’t be intimidated?

Olympic Rowers Recruit Philly Students

ABC6's Lisa Thomas Laury reports on Philadelphia City Rowing:

MHTS Up Close and Personal with Elizabeth Peters

Philadelphia City Rowing, a youth rowing team in Philadelphia, placed tenth out of thirty teams last weekend (July 17th) in the first regatta in the team's short history. What makes this achievement truly remarkable is that two months ago none of these youngsters even knew what rowing, let alone the special place the sport holds in their city's sporting history.

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