Why I Row: Judy Stark

Updated: May 9

My rowing adventure began in '95, when I met Luise Davis and she told me about walking over from her job next door to ask if she could row! I followed her advice and signed up. We learned to row on the 'barge' - a pontoon-type boat with oars. Marta Habermann, who learned to row in Holland, was a wonderful mentor. In '97 Holly Metcalf, a former Olympic rower, came to teach us to 'row as one' - she emphasized the swing. At first, there were just the men's and women's early morning teams. I always felt I'd started my day well when I went to work after that.

When the Evening Masters was formed I joined that team. Races always provided memorable experiences. Some of my favorites were: the Stonewall in D.C. where we rowed past Kennedy Center (and I caught a giant crab!); the Quaker State on the Schuylkill past all the famous boathouses; Regatta of the Americas on the old Welland Canal; and the Stonewall in Columbus where our quad got a gold! Wye Island was a great adventure, navigating for 13 miles took an excellent cox, and we always celebrated with crab dinners afterward!

After I retired, the new Mid-Morning Masters team became a perfect fit! We love rowing in daylight with very few other boats on the river. I thought we'd row gently down the river, but our coaches have other ideas, especially Ellen, who sets goals and rigorous training plans for each of us!

In each group, I've met wonderful men and women and enjoyed a camaraderie found nowhere else. When I'm on the river, taking in our unique view of Pittsburgh, I feel so lucky to have found this sport! At 81, I'm happy to still be rowing and hope to continue for many years!


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