The Lake County Rowing Association (LCRA) has navigated a major milestone. That’s because 2021 marks its 10-year anniversary of making a difference for people interested in rowing as sport or hobby. The organization serves all of Lake County but is based in downtown Clermont at a boathouse (dedicated in Feb. 2015), at Victory Pointe Park, 1050 Victory Way, overlooking Lake Minneola – the very entity that serves as its fluid training ground.
According to the organization’s website, LCRA was founded in 2011 as a non-profit with the goal of “promoting rowing in Lake County while also encouraging people from across the Nation to visit our beautiful lakes and waterways.”
LCRA’s mission involves rowing with people across Central Florida of all ages and experience levels.
“Rowing embodies grace, power and symmetry. It develops endurance, discipline, teamwork, and mental and physical toughness that builds relationships between athletes, helping them to learn to work together as a team,” says the website’s homepage.
At LCRA, coaches work with families, children and area teams on achieving their rowing goals.
The City of Clermont, in partnership with LCRA, has invested in a 2,000m Olympic style buoyed racecourse that allows for eight rowing lanes. In 2019, a first-class AccuDock system for boat launches and rowing regattas was installed.
Keith Young serves as the organization’s team or adult individual trainer, while LCRA’s Coaching Director Justin Knust oversees youth and adult club memberships, and Mike Furukawa is current president.
Justin says that since its formation, the LCRA has given more than 1,000 people the opportunity to try the sport of rowing, and hundreds have become members of the rowing team.
Additionally, the percentage rate for college scholarships awarded to rowing athletes is phenomenally high – 90 percent for females and about 80 percent for males.
Justin says that in 2019, one female and three male athletes with the LCRA all received full ride scholarships to row in college. In 2020, four of five graduating seniors on the rowing team achieved the same.
Perhaps the coolest thing, however, is that unlike other sports, students can start with rowing later in life and still go far with it, says Justin.
“Your destiny is ordained so early in life with some of these other sports, but with rowing, you can pick it up later and go far. Nobody really rows before middle school,” Justin says. “You don’t have to be this underage superstar to have a lot of success in it.”
For more information about the LCRA, or for a listing of upcoming classes, events and more, visit rowlcra.org or call 407-970-1855.