In the summer of 2002 a group of visionary and dedicated parents and coaches recognized the need in Sarasota for a rowing program centered on positive and impeccable sportsmanship and decided to start a new youth rowing club. But, the going was tough. The new club was only a vision and desire - no boats, no site, no rowers, and no access to good, rowable water. Fortunately, Linda Mansperger, Executive Director of Historic Spanish Point supported the idea of locating the new club on the grounds of Historic Spanish Point and on July 2, 2002 Historic Spanish Point's Board approved the idea. The next day, July 3, Sarasota Crew was launched.
The driving vision was clarified, a board was formed, organizational pragmatics were executed, and informational meetings were held to inform potential rowers and their families of the new club and it's direction. Sixty-five rowers signed up in that first month, a small fleet of used boats was purchased, and in August 2002 we began our first practice. The club went on that year to compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston and many local Florida regattas. That first season ended with a winning state championship team in the Men's Varsity 4+ and the club was off and running.
The founders of Sarasota Crew were a group of visionary and dedicated parents and coaches who recognized the need and knew the long-term viability for the club depended on a clear and broadly understood vision and direction. A Mission and a set of Operating Principles emerged which continue to provide direction for the club.
Sarasota Crew has used its first nine years to ground itself and to build the strong base needed for a truly excellent youth rowing program. Many, many people have contributed strongly to building this base. The club now has over 183 high school youth rowers, as well as a middle school program of 114 and summer camp programs with well over 200 participants. The club has a very competitive fleet of over 55 rowing shells, supporting coach launches and other equipment. The parent group is vibrantly active in supporting the team and provides immense help and involvement. The club has several highly qualified and effective coaches. In the spring of 2011 the club was able to bring all of this backing together to win the Florida State Championship. Within the last 4 years we have sent well over 20 athletes to participate in the Junior National Team, with 7 of those athletes representing the USA at the Junior World Championships. The club has truly succeeded in getting itself established and grounded.
Now, the challenge is to take this solid base and expand our truly great youth rowing club - and Sarasota Crew is up to the challenge. In early 2008 the club moved to the new facilities at Bay Point at Osprey - a five-acre campus devoted to public access to the beautiful waters of Sarasota Bay. This new home provides a permanent base for youth rowing in Sarasota County and allows the club to develop its ability to positively service the needs of youth rowers even more effectively. Our vision remains strong, our determination firm, our actions energetic. We are striving to become the best and most effective rowing club in the state of Florida and we think we have a great start.