Watuppa Rowing Center looks to start DHS Rowing Club


Curiosity filled the air in the DHS gym as two rowing machines were being demonstrated by two staff members of the Watuppa Rowing Center. “Why are they here?” “That looks like fun!” and “I could never do that,” could be heard from the crowd of students.

As far as high school boating sports go, sailboats use sails, skulls (rowing boats) use oars; sailing uses the wind, rowing uses the coxswain (steersman of the boat); and sailing is a sport at DHS, rowing is not.

The Watuppa Rowing Center from Watuppa Pond in Westport, hopes to eventually make rowing a competing sport for DHS. A couple weeks ago, international rowers Boris Kusturic and Isaac Mocarski, came to the DHS gym. Their goal: getting students to create a rowing club that could potentially become a rowing team that would compete against other MA high schools.

Mr. Kusturic said, “Massachusetts has a history of rowing. All Boston high schools have rowing teams that compete on the famous Charles River.”

The world’s largest two-day rowing event, The Head of the Charles, has been held on the Charles River in Boston for 50 years now.

For now, the Watuppa Rowing Center will be holding rowing classes, open to the public, throughout the spring, summer, and fall (all information and prices about these programs can be found at watupparowing.com).

The cost for a rowing club would be about $200 per person to pay for time on the Watuppa Pond in Westport. The club would be using the rowing center’s equipment including boats, oars, and rowing machines. The club would meet for four days a week, two hours each day.

Sophomore Jack Dias spent some time on the rowing machines while they were at the gym. He put in a time of about 16 seconds on a 100 meter trial, a near record breaking time. International and collegiate level races are 2000 meters, high school fall races are 5 kilometers, and high school spring races are 1500 meters.

Though 100 meters are a significantly shorter distance than 1500 meters, Dias said, “I’m primarily a distance runner and [have the] stamina to go longer.” Dias is in full support of a DHS rowing club and would definitely be interested in joining.

Mr. Mocarski said, “It is very easy to start.” Mr. Mocarski was only 5’4” when he started rowing as a freshman in high school and by the time he was a junior, he had made it on to the national team. He remembers a coach once saying, “Rowing teaches you to bend at your breaking point instead of breaking.”

Rowing has given Mr. Mocarski so many opportunities, such as meeting people from and visiting Lithuania, Canada, Italy, Spain, and Germany, just to name a few. Companies will hire rowers just because of their background and involvement in the sport. Mr. Mocarski said, “The feeling after winning races, after working so hard all season, is the most rewarding feeling and it will stick with you for your entire life.

Mr. Mocarski strongly encourages all to start rowing. “What you put in is what you get out. Don’t be afraid to take the risk,” he said.