Due to less than great river conditions, the two-day, learn-to-row camp held by the Marietta High School Tiger Navy was unable to hit the water Friday, but it was still a valuable experience for all involved.
"We just try to teach them the mechanics," said Marietta boys crew head coach Tanner O'Connor.
"Crew is an expensive sport, so you have to generate an interest before you start charging people."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta High boys’ crew coach Tanner O’Connor, left, instructs campers on the proper way to use the erging machine Friday afternoon at the high school boathouse on Gilman Avenue, near the Muskingum River.
Last year was the first year the team hosted a free rowing camp and it drew over 70 people. Friday saw 30-40 incoming 6th through 12th graders show up, but that number is expected to rise over the weekend as the weather clears up.
Even though the Muskingum River was moving at speeds too dangerous to row on, the camp gave students a chance to learn the basics of rowing.
"We want them to come down and see if they like it," said MHS girls head coach Joe Tewkesbury. "The only way they're gonna know is if they come out and try it. They can read about it all they want, but until you hold an oar in your hands, you don't know."
Tewkesbury and O'Connor opened things up by introducing campers to the boats and oars, then took them to the upstairs portion of the boathouse to learn how to use the erging machines.
Some of the more experienced rowers in attendance also helped out with instruction.
"This is definitely the biggest thing we have going on right now," O'Connor said. "Just because it's free, we can attract a lot of people."
Attracting people and gaining in numbers are crucial in crew, and Marietta is doing well in those departments.
"We picked up some numbers from last year," Tewkesbury said. "Hopefully we're gonna get them all back."
On the boys side, "there is a bigger class coming in this year than we had last year," O'Connor said.
"There is definitely an interest on both (the boys and girls) sides."
The camp will take place again Saturday at 10 a.m. Later this summer, there will more rowing camps for both youth and adults. Dates have yet to be announced.