This is Who We Are.

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From the successes of the NCR Ergathon and Valley Gives, to weathering the spring thaw (mostly on land), to adjusting through coaching shifts, and rallying members for our learn to row days, it has been non stop action.

Through the dreaded "Now what?" moments to the inspiring "You mean I can learn how to row?" moments, it has occurred to me on more than a few occasions that the success of a rowing club, specifically this rowing club, is truly built on it's members dedication to their sport, their community, and their desire to leave a legacy. That goes for Juniors and Masters rowers.

It doesn't matter whether you are a junior or a masters rower. It doesn't matter whether you row in the AM or the PM. It doesn't matter whether you've rowed for 20 years or 20 minutes. If you are rowing, or coxing, or coaching at NCR you understand who we are and how we do things. 

                                                                  THIS IS WHO WE ARE.                                                              Photo credit Sarah Crosby

                                                                THIS IS WHO WE ARE.
                                                             Photo credit Sarah Crosby

We are welcoming and we are supportive. 

We welcome anyone and everyone that sets foot on our site and shows a willingness to jump into this crazy sport of rowing. We are supportive because we all know, no matter what age you are, how intimidating it can be to try something completely unknown that is physically difficult and mentally challenging. This is who we are and this is how we do things! 

                                                           THIS IS ALSO WHO WE ARE.                                                          Photo credit Eileen Rakouskas

                                                         THIS IS ALSO WHO WE ARE.
                                                         Photo credit Eileen Rakouskas

Here's to all of the parents, rowers, board members, and supporters that have come from this little club that could, because without you, I wouldn't be here writing these words and passing on your legacy.

GO NCR!

Youth Captain's Report on Spring Season

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This past season felt like a fresh start for the Youth Team at Hamp Crew. Winter training lasted well into April, so when it came time to get out on the water, we were filled with a nervous excitement prompted by the encouraging words of the new coaches. If we showed our dedication and put in the right amount of work there was nothing stopping us from the chance to win races.

This coaching philosophy was exactly what we needed. We had spent so much time as a “middle of the pack” team, the attitude of the new coaches was inspiring. The coaches asked each of us to carry the responsibility individually, which was a little intimidating, but at the same time empowering. The coaches made us realize that it was entirely up to us. If we want to win, we have to decide together that we are putting in the work to get there. Winning will not just happen, but we can achieve it if we work together, and individually pull our weight for our teammates.

 Boys 4 at Lowell Spring 2018

Boys 4 at Lowell Spring 2018

After a few weeks on the water we had settled into our racing season. We had a test week on land for varsity rowers that tested our mental and physical strength. This week was a huge growth period for our varsity team as a whole. There was so much support between varsity rowers; coaching each other through pieces, encouraging people to push through the pain, all of which brought our team together and helped us with team dynamics and our performance on the water. At our races each weekend, we got progressively more successful; not just in that we started placing well in races, but we grew as a team. The Lowell regatta was definitely a turning point for the season. Our varsity boys 4+ and varsity girls 4x both performed well, and it was exciting to see our hard work paying off. The following week in Worcester was the Northeast Youth Championship. Although we did not progress at this regatta, both our boats met their goals for the day. Our boys four had a rower unable to come to this race. In his absence we had a novice boy who jumped right in and showed us all his ability to adjust at an incredibly fast pace to race in the varsity four. Our last race weekend was a huge success! Our varsity girls 4x and varsity boys 4+ both placed first in their races. Our novice and varsity teams bonded this season more than they have in the past. Having mixed boat racing the last week, and taking out mixed boats during practice helped our squads feel comfortable with each other.

Looking ahead to next year, we are very excited for what is coming. This year has been a growing period for Hamp Crew. We are getting back on our feet thanks to the dedication of our new coaches and the passion of our youth rowers; they’ve stuck with the team despite so many changes. We only had one graduating senior this year, and next year the majority of the team will be upperclassmen.

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We’re already fast, but we are working on getting a lot faster. Both the boys and girls squads have a ton of room to grow, and plenty of time to do so. That’s the biggest thing. 

We are so grateful for Coach Beth, and Coach Rob for sticking with us. They have truly transformed this team for the better. We are working for goals that we never thought were possible until they showed us there is nothing standing in our way.

Thank you Hamp Crew for an amazing season of rowing. We are so excited for next year and what is to come for this team!

Hamp Crew Captains: Adrienne and Ethan

Rowing by 8's under the Rte 9 Bridge mouth agape: Reflections from a new Learn-to-Rower

It was my first morning of Novice rowing.  With just four weeks of Learn To Row under my belt, I was fortunate enough to be seated in an 8 boat with considerably more seasoned rowers around me.  As we pushed off from the dock, I was excited to be trying feathering for the first time, which felt like an important, early milestone.  Focusing on matching the steady pace of the rower in front of me, I was lost in concentration as I tried to decode the vocabulary of feathering (Which one is my “outside” hand? How soon do I “square” before the catch?)

I was intent on integrating this new technique into the myriad other rhythms and movements that have inexplicably and delightfully become part of my early mornings.  So intent, in fact, that I was caught completely off guard by the massive structure looming overhead.  Having barely left the view of the docks in the previous weeks, and having only rowed by 2s and 4s, I suddenly became aware that we were, all eight of us together, rowing under the Rte. 9 bridge!  Coach Beth laughingly remarked on the expression on my face – my eyes open wide and mouth agape with the thrill of it all.

Seven weeks in, I’m loving so many aspects of this new experience:  The warmly welcoming community of experienced rowers who have become my new role models.  The camaraderie and shared encouragements among novices as we slowly become indebted to each other to show up and do our best.  The sunrises.  The wildlife.  Even the new challenge of waking up at 4:30 and starting the day with a proud “I did that!” Putting aside the demands of parenting, work, and other responsibilities in order to take instruction, learn huge new concepts and small refinements.  Helping each other.  Forgiving ourselves.  And doing it all again, anew, with the next stroke.

Heidi Nortonsmith

Ergs and Rowers and Ergathon, Oh MY!

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Saturday, April 21 from 8:30am-4pm
Corner of Main and Pleasant St, Northampton.
On the front lawn of the old courthouse.

Yes sirree! It's that magic time of year again where NCR rowers, both youth and masters get themselves out in front of the public and demonstrate what an erg does to rowers and what the rowers do to the ergs.

This year is our 20th anniversary year of getting people on the water. For that reason this ergathon is special and significant. Our tag line this year is $20 for 20. We are asking folks to sponsor our rowers and to contribute to the long term health and wellness of Northampton Community Rowing. All donations will go to supporting our programming, equipment and outreach efforts as we continue to bring the best rowing opportunities to the region.

For all of the rowers participating in this year's ergathon we ask that you sign up for a slot on the sign up genius.

NCR rowers, board members and staff will be on site to answer any questions passersby might have. We have many programs available this summer for youth and adults so please come on down, say hi, and see what we're all about.

Go NCR!

The Docks are Built!

The Docks are Built...

Thanks to all who donated through the GoFundMe page we were able to gather $2800 to rebuild the docks and create a new system for launching at our site. Many people made incredibly generous contributions and we truly appreciate your kindness.

Also, thanks to a heroic team of people (Coach Beth, Bullet, Morgan Marlow, Wendy Bernstein, Sally Linowski, Linda Hannum, Coach Rob, and Chris M.) the new docks are built and ALMOST ready to go. We are still in need of flotation for the docks. We also need someone with a fork lift to help us get the old docks off of the lawn and onto the asphalt so they can be carried by the crane into the water.  But we are VERY hopeful that we can get the docks in place by Wed. April 11. 

If you have any leads on a company willing to donate or provide fork lift services cheaply, please email: executivedirector@hampcrew.com ASAP.

We are all ready to be on the water!