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Indian River Rowing Club stokes public interest in sport

VERO BEACH – Residents and enthusiasts gathered at MacWilliam Park in Vero Beach Saturday to learn more about rowing as the Indian River Rowing Club set out to recognize National Rowing Day.

The weather appeared perfect for a day on the river, and plenty of excited Indian River County residents came out for the opportunity to learn how to row.

Participants in the event first practiced rowing on the erg machines and then were able to go out on the river.

In groups of six, they went out in the boats under the direction of the club’s enthusiastic members who were all smiles, even when the groups steered the boats into the mangroves.

The Indian River Rowing Club members seemed excited about the event as it would help build support in the community for the sport and the Club.

“This is the kind of day we absolutely thrive on – it’s about spreading the word,” said Betsy Nolan, president of the Indian River Rowing Club.

The Indian River Rowing Club currently practices in Fellsmere, but the club is planning to relocate to Vero Beach.  The Indian River Rowing Club has been working with the City of Vero Beach for about a year to find a location to build a two-story boathouse most likely along either side of the Barber Bridge.

Shotsie Lajoie, head of the Building Committee, said ideally, the club would like the facility to have workout area and meeting rooms on the second floor, and boat storage on the first floor.

The Indian River Rowing Club plans to host annual regattas, lessons and clinics for ages 12 and up, and even collegiate rowing team training.

Lajoie also noted that the Club and its plans to promote rowing in the community has received a warm welcoming and plenty of encouragement from the City of Vero Beach.

The club currently has about 20 members who are active rowers, though boasts a total membership of 71 who are avid supporters of rowing.

The club will be hosting weekly clinics on Sundays during the month of June for those who are looking to spend some more time on the river.

For more information, visit, or contact President Betsy Nolan at (772) 539-1752.

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