Para-Rowing Camp and Classification Clinic Set to Take Place in Sarasota

by Ed Moran, | Feb 16, 2015
A full-week camp focusing on para-rowing and adaptive classification is set to take place March 2-6 at Sarasota’s-Bradenton’s Nathan Benderson Park.


 U.S. arms and shoulders single sculler Blake Haxton at the 2014 World Rowing Championships.

A full-week camp focusing on para-rowing and adaptive classification is set to take place March 2-6 at Sarasota’s-Bradenton’s Nathan Benderson Park.

According to Tom Darling, USRowing Director of Para-Rowing, the camp is part of the association’s efforts to build a deeper para-rowing athlete base and will host athletes hoping to compete in the arms and shoulders and trunk and arms events in the 2015 World Championships and 2016 Paralympic Games.

The camp also will feature two days of adaptive classification clinics led by FISA Chief Classifier and USA Classification Coordinator Judy Morrison and Jeff McGinnis, executive director of the Philadelphia Center for Adaptive Sports.

“I’m excited about this camp,” Darling said. Darling said nine athletes will be attending the camp, along with para-rowing coaches and boat riggers that are expert in rigging and developing components for the very specialized equipment the athletes use in competition.

“We already have 10 people coming to the classification clinics, and we have space for four more people,” Darling said. “The first day, Monday, Morrison will do a power point presentation on what it entails to become a classifier, and the second day, athletes will come who haven’t become classified yet.”

Among those who will be attending the camp will be Debbie Arenberg, USRowing Adaptive Program Development Specialist, USRowing para team physician Kate Ackerman and United States Olympic Committee nutritionist Nuwanee Kirihennedige.

Scheduled to participate will be Rio hopefuls from around the country, including U.S. arms and shoulders single sculler Blake Haxton (Columbus, Ohio) and 2008 Paralympian Scott Brown (Collingdale, Pa.).

Haxton finished fourth in his first ever competition as a para-rower at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Brown finished seventh in the trunk and arms mixed double in Beijing.

One of the focuses of the camp will be identifying possible trunk and arms combinations, Darling said. The U.S. won a bronze medal in the event at the 2012 Paralympics, a first for the U.S.

The crew consisted of Rob Jones (Lovettsville, Va.) and Oksana Masters (Buffalo, N.Y.). They last competed together at the 2013 World Championships, where they finished fourth. Masters is now competing with the U.S. adaptive ski team, and Jones is training for triathlon racing.

Neither is planning to row this year, and Darling is hoping to find a crew that can be as competitive.

“The trunk and arms double is a mixed boat, and it’s been very difficult to get two people together who want to row together,” Darling said. “So, we’ve going to get people together, mix them up, and then let them go their separate ways to train and come back together a couple of weeks before trials.”

The camp also will feature a nutrition clinic.

“We have a nutritionist coming in from the USOC, and we will have individual consults with the various athletes,” Darling said. “Nutrition is a huge component in rowing, and even more so with the adaptive athletes. This is going to be a full, fun week.

To learn more about the camp, contact Tom Darling directly at or call him at (617) 513-0708.

For information and registration information on the classification clinic, go here.
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