"We'll be holding timed preliminaries in the morning and finals in the afternoon," explained Toy Campbell, a member of the Juneau Rowing Club board and one of its co-founders. "We're inviting everyone to come see us and cheer us on."
Formed in 2002, the Juneau Rowing Club was created to provide local rowers with improved access to the water and opportunities for recreational and competitive rowing with others. While this weekend's regatta will showcase the talents of experienced rowers, the Club also offers lessons to aspiring rowers and is happy to introduce people to the sport.
"Coming to the Regatta is a great way to meet the board of directors and our members, and it's just a lot of fun," said Campbell. "We usually get a lot of people; at least 20 rowers are in the race, and another 40 or so people come down just to see it."
The race will start in the Gastineau Channel near DIPAC, and finish at the Juneau Yacht Club, where the majority of the crowd gathers on shore. "It's really neat when they're all cheering at the finish line," said Campbell.
One of those cheering will be Frank Cunningham, who will be visiting Juneau for the first time. "Frank has been coaching at the Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle since 1948," said Campbell. "Now in his 80s, he has coached a number of Olympic athletes, including the 1984 gold medal winners."
The author of The Sculler at Ease, Cunningham is coming into town early to provide private lessons and to work with the Juneau Rowing Club staff in Aurora Harbor. "Frank really loves what he does, so we expect that he'll get up here and hit the ground running," said Campbell.
Novices who want to learn more about rowing are invited to attend one of the Club's open houses, which are listed on the Club's website at www.juneaurowing.com. They can also call Toy Campbell at 907-586-3388 or co-founder Matt Kirchhoff at 907-586-5816.
"Rowing is an exciting sport and it gets your body into great physical shape," said Campbell. "And you're never too old to do it...ever!"