Year End Review and Moving Forward

Dear Athletes and Supporters of Tulsa Rowing Club Juniors,

I write at the close of a year that was very exciting for our club for a multitude of reasons. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the achievements we have made and the challenges that we have faced in the last 12 months. I also want to take a moment to announce our 2014 plans for fundraising and strategic planning.

Year End Review

During the winter season, we had notable and strong performances at the Dallas SWEAT Regatta, with over 80% of our team rowing to a personal best on the ergometer.

At our annual Row-a-thon, several athletes broke world records for longest continual row, and our team raised more money than ever before.

• We had a competitive spring season, with the team earning medals at each of the regattas we attended. We also bought a new V1 eight for our boys and girls varsity teams.

Over the summer, our boys lightweight rowers placed 14th at USRowing Youth Nationals, achieving our best result to date at Nationals for the boys program.

A group of boys varsity rowers traveled to England to row in the Henley Royal Regatta, becoming the first junior athletes from Oklahoma to participate in the event.

• In the fall we introduced a new logo and new team t-shirts. Our fall season of head racing was very successful, with our athletes not only medaling at every event, but also finishing the season with a program-best day at the Frostbite Regatta in Wichita.

• Tulsa Rowing Club Juniors was established as an organization independent of Tulsa Rowing Club as recognized by USRowing, and we are in the process of establishing our own 501c3.

• The coaching staff has supplemented the typical practice regimens with visits by a counselor trained to help young adults negotiate the complicated context in which they live. We have also spent practice time educating the athletes on nutrition and other aspects of healthy living, in an attempt to help them make better choices in all areas of their lives.

We have recently developed a learning management system to aid in instruction of our athletes and coxswains.

Three of our athletes rowed to longest continual row records on the ergometer.

Thanks and Gratitude

I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to thank the many people and organizations that have helped us progress this year. First, the coaching staff has worked tirelessly and made a huge investment in our student athletes. I also wish to thank our parent board of Kim Grzywacz, Jennifer Sack, Kathy Antonacci, Julie Baker, who are led by our boosters president Jennifer Seely. They have worked very hard to establish TRCJ as its own entity and have acted as a steering committee for much of the development this year. I also want to thank Shaun Stewart-Maddox, Tim Maddox, Eric Sack, and Julie Baker for their various support roles this past fall season. There are countless others that have also aided in the running of the program, and I thank each of you for your care and service.

Additional thanks go to our support staff James Simmons and Clint Allan for providing much needed equipment support both at home and on the road. We can’t get to where we need to be if our equipment isn’t in working order.

I also want to thank the University of Tulsa, Kevin Harris and his coaching staff for all of their support over the past year. Coach Harris and his team have helped us out on many levels, from trailering our boat to nationals to generously allowing us to row out of their boathouse in Catoosa.

We owe Kingston Grammar School and their coaching staff a debt of gratitude for being such terrific hosts during our stay in the UK. In addition, we wish to extend our gratitude and thanks to the regatta committee of Henley Royal Regatta for allowing us the chance to compete in the main regatta and make a little history.

Finally, I want to thank my family for all of their support given the demanding schedule that is required of the Head Coach of our growing program. I love you guys!

Moving Forward

As time progresses, we will continue to evaluate our club and how we can improve the way that we serve not only our athletes and families, but also how we can better serve the larger Tulsa community and regional rowing community. In the next twelve months, we have many exciting things on the horizon and many challenges to tackle.

Our first challenge is fundraising. We will start our fundraising year off with a bang at our annual Row-a-Thon. This event had its best result ever last year, and our goal is to exceed that mark this year. We will generate additional revenue by selling some of our older or non-Vespoli equipment.

We will be targeting the following goals with the money raised:

• Refurbishment and maintenance of coaching launches and trailers ($10,000).

• Establish temporary storage at Catoosa to make up for diminishing rack space due to TU’s growing program ($20,000).

• Acquire additional Concept 2 ergometers to help support the growing number of athletes in our program ($10,000).

• Purchase a new tent and a small trailer to facilitate travel on our out of town trips ($5000).

• Buy additional weight training equipment, such as a leg press and back extension bench ($3500).

• Purchase two sets of oars to replace sets that are worn out ($6400).

• *Potential purchase of a new medium size hull for 4+ ($23,000) in addition to a new 2x/2- to help support our small boats program ($13,000).

*Long range goal if we can establish our infrastructure in the points above.

We are also in need of volunteers to fill two positions that will be vital as we continue to grow our program:

• FUNDRAISING CHAIR: Now that TRCJ is its own entity and will soon be its own 501c3, we are in need of a fundraising chair to keep our efforts in this area organized. This position will be a part of the parent board.

• ALUMNI RELATIONS COORDINATOR: We are in need of a person to develop communication with our ever-growing TRCJ alumni community. This role will involve organizing alumni events and keeping alumni updated on ways that they can remain connected to the program.

These positions are critical opportunities for individuals to step up and support the club in invaluable ways. Please let me know if you could fill one of these roles or if you have contacts in these areas.

In conclusion, it has been a very successful year, and I can’t wait to see what progress that 2014 brings. The coaching staff will be challenging the athletes to raise their game even more for our spring racing season, in hopes of securing some entries at Nationals in June. In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy holiday and a fantastic start to the new year! See you soon!

Yours In Community,

Coach Neil Bergenroth – Head Coach
(918) 906 5233