Masters Make World Championship Debut

At the peak of a hot Florida summer, North Palm Beach Rowing Club’s “masters” team – in rowing, this refers to adults over age 23 – seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make its World Championship debut on US soil. For the first time ever, the FISA World Masters Championship was held in Florida at Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park – a new, sprawling top-notch international rowing venue just a four hour drive from NPBRC’s home base. This was an opportunity not to be missed.

Eleven stalwart NPBRC athletes joined competitors from 365 other clubs around the world for a shot at the coveted title of World Champion. Competitors came from as far away as Australia, Argentina, India, Russia, and nearly everywhere in between. South Africans. Swiss. Japanese. The international representation was absolutely staggering, a virtual United Nations of the rowing world. Within the US, this race drew top talent from our country’s most renowned and storied clubs. The venue was packed with every age, shape, and size imaginable: former elite athletes mingling with octogenarians, new racers soaking it in alongside some of the most recognizable names in rowing. When it was all said and done, when the burn of lactic acid was done and hearts and lungs returned to a more sustainable pace, NPBRC’s rowers left the racecourse with one third place finish, multiple fourth place finishes, and many other hard-fought races under their belts, experience that has only heightened the team’s hunger for more and sharpened skills for seasons to come.

Regardless of the outcome, one fact stands out. North Palm Beach took to the field when many others dared not.

Opportunity seen. Opportunity seized.

NPB Scullers Storm Stotesbury Cup

On May 18th and 19th, three NPBRC athletes made their debut at the US’ largest, oldest, and most prestigious high school rowing race, the Stotesbury Cup Regatta. Gunther Schwartz (St. Andrews Episcopal), Maricella Adams-Grimaldi (Suncoast), and Gracie Leon (Seminole Ridge HS) joined a total of 196 clubs and over 5600 high school rowers on the Cooper River in Camden, NJ for two grueling days of competition against the best high school rowers in the United States and Canada.

NPBRC’s Gracie Leon and Mari Adams-Grimaldi, facing a field of 36 in the women’s 1x event, shocked the US scholastic rowing scene by posting the fastest finishes of any female US youth scullers, finishing third and fifth, respectively. Gracie’s third place finish put her in hot pursuit of Grimsby’s Emma Dockray (Ontario, CAN) and Blessed Trinity’s Lauren Kelly (Ontario, CAN), both of whom are fixtures on Rowing Canada’s Junior National team. Fourth place went to yet another strong Canadian athlete, Madison Thomas of Welland Centennial (Ontario, CAN). NPB’s own Mari Adams-Grimaldi was just a few seconds behind, rounding out the top five of this elite field. NPB’s Gunther Schwartz, in the boy’s varsity 1x event,  surpassed 15 other clubs in the time trial despite a stiff headwind, driving rain, and white-capped water to finish just shy of the semifinal qualification – a valiant performance against North America’s toughest male scullers.

These three athletes will join several of their NPBRC teammates to race the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association (CSSRA) regatta May 25th-26th in St. Catherines, Ontario. NPBRC’s top female sculler, Gracie Leon, has already qualified for the USRowing Youth National Championship to be held June 9th-10th in Rancho Cordova, CA.

Palm Beach “Burn” produces American Champion

North Palm Beach Rowing Club hosted Palm Beach County’s first-ever indoor rowing competition, the Palm Beach Burn, on Saturday, August 19th. Athletes came from as far as Orlando for this event to compete in a morning packed both with fierce competition and genuine camaraderie.

Without question, the star of the show was Mr. George Heller. At a spry 95 years, Mr. Heller competed in the 1000m 90+ event and not only did he handily win his age category, but also set a new 2017 American record – a fact just confirmed by authorities at Concept2.

“The Burn” featured age categories ranging from under-15 (“U15”) to 90+ and a range of distance options to fit every fitness level. NPBRC wishes to thank the many volunteers and local sponsors who made The Burn a success, and congratulate all of our competitors on  a job well done!

NPBRC Rower Invited to Jr. National Team Development Camp

North Palm Beach Rowing Club is proud to announce that one of our youth team rowers, Kolton Paxson, has accepted an invitation to participate this summer in the 2017 USRowing Junior Men’s National Team Development Camp. He will be one of only 30 rowers from across the United States to have been invited to this camp. The rowers were selected at USRowing’s Identification Camps held throughout the country earlier this year.

Junior Men’s National team Coach John Cohen says that “Camp will take place at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, with the goal of helping all athletes become better prepared for the rigors of international racing. This camp is the perfect stepping stone for those athletes who are serious about training at a high level, and taking the first step toward one day representing the United States at the World Championships.” Kolton said “I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to train at the US Rowing Men’s Junior National Development Camp to improve my skill as a rower.”

Kolton, age 16, learned to row at NPBRC just six months ago but has quickly developed into a talented oarsman, most recently finishing fourth at the 2017 Florida State Sculling Championships. He will continue to compete throughout the summer both in the US and internationally.


World Champions row with NPBRC

Olympic Medalists and 1974 World Champion Rowers Commemorate 40th Year Anniversary with Local Rowers 

On Friday June 6, 2014, the 1974 World Champions Men’s Eight commemorated their historic row with a row down the Intracoastal Waterway from Bert Winters Park. Mike Vespoli, an internationally renowned rower and his team mates who competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics and, in 1974, won the World Championship in Lucerne, Switzerland in record time selected the North Palm Beach Rowing Club to be their host for this exciting event. They rowed just over three miles on the intercoastal waterway proving that they still had their swing (rhythm) and power as they moved swiftly along, leaving several chase boats lagging behind. Afterwards they signed photos from their championship race, mingled with some of the club’s high school rowers and adult members, offered rowing tips to all who came and provided an inspirational look at the lifelong health benefits accruing to those who row. These guys can still move a boat!DSC_0345-2 DSC_0413-2 DSC_0437