The Mountain Lakes Rowing Club situated on Lake Hopatcong is re-launching as “Row New Jersey”.
Row New Jersey is a competitive pre-collegiate rowing team established in 2007. The team draws on middle school and high school students from over 15 towns in North and Central New Jersey, including Mendham, Morristown, Summit, Madison, Bernardsville, Roxbury, Chester, Boonton and Mountain Lakes. “As we lean into a position of growth for the future, it’s important that our team name reflects the diversity of the communities that we pull from” states Rob Welsh, Coaching Director of Row New Jersey. Row New Jersey provides participation opportunities for beginners and novice rowers all the way to competitive varsity crew teams for boys and girls.
The sport of rowing is one of the fastest-growing varsity sports across the country and the Row New Jersey team has grown from a team of under 30 in 2007 to more than 80 student-athletes this year. The team competes with other teams in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, New England, and beyond, and has been very successful over recent years. This year, Row New Jersey achieved a National Title at the Youth U15/U17 National Championships and sent 3 boats to the US Rowing Nationals in Sarasota, Florida. All three boats ranked in the top 20 of teams competing nationally. “Row New Jersey is a relatively young team and qualifying 30% of our team for the 2019 Youth Nationals is something we’re all very proud of. We see unlimited potential for this team as we continue to build for the future”, stated Welsh.
Rowing provides students with the opportunity to increase their fitness levels, develop leadership skills and provides an environment where teamwork is at the core of the sport. The beauty of the Row New Jersey team is that “it doesn’t matter what town or school you go to in the area – this is a team that serves many towns and communities. Rowing gives kids the chance to participate in a truly international sport and creates friendships and connections beyond the town they live in” states Board President, Josh McKay.
Barb Infante has a daughter and son on the team and says “it’s also a great alternative to other team sports. My kids were both swimmers, and someone told me once that swimmers make excellent rowers: they are used to the commitment it takes to spend hours on the water. I agree – it was an easy transition when they outgrew swimming. Crew can provide a greater opportunity to college choices and a future that may not have even been an option just a few years ago – and that’s not lost on the kids”.
Row New Jersey is based on Lake Hopatcong and has a boathouse located at Lee’s Park Marina, at 443 Howard Boulevard in Mount Arlington. The team provides opportunities to compete in the fall and spring, winter fitness, as well as learn to row and competitive racing in the summer.