Recovery on Water Spring 2015 Newsletter
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Dear Supporters:

Spring has sprung! For many rowing teams, this is the most anticipated time of the year. The ergometers and rowing tanks aren't doing it for us anymore and we can't help but daydream about that first water practice of the season. After the long Chicago winter the air and our catches feel crisp. We instantaneously remember why we love the sport and how we got through winter training. We connect with our team mates, the water and ourselves.

ROW's winter and indoor rowing season was full of hard work and growth, both physically and as a team. A largely successful January ROW-pen House introduced the sport to over 20 new survivors of breast cancer. Novice ROWers bring a much needed energy and enthusiasm to practices, all while reminding us of why our program exists. All new to rowing, some still in treatment, as one of our survivors often shares, "all ages, all stages". We built out the winter program by featuring more workouts in more locations (6 days a week!) along with hosting our own indoor rowing race at ROW HQ.

At the end of January we hired Devlin Murdock, our second full time staff member. As our Operations & Programs Coordinator, Devlin not only implements our programs as a coach but also helps us measure ROW's impact. Through our year end program impact survey we learned that before joining ROW, survivors of breast cancer on the ROW team exercised on average 2.87 times per week. After joining ROW, survivors reported that they exercised on average 4.45 times per week. This is a 55% increase in regular exercise. Our programs continue to thrive in getting survivors of breast cancer active in their recovery. Our programs continue to thrive because of your support.
With a boathouse, a bike ride and a bright future on the horizon, we welcome you to continue to support our programs as volunteers, donors and friends. I hope you enjoy this detailed overview of our winter season and I look forward to seeing many of you on the water this spring.
As always: GO ROW!

Jenn Gibbons
Executive Director
Recovery on Water

St. Pat's Sprint for Recovery 2015

The fourth annual St. Pat’s Sprint for Recovery took place on March 14. Put on by the Chicago Rowing Foundation (CRF) for the benefit of Recovery on Water, this year’s event took place on a beautiful, sunny Saturday featuring 90 athletes in 10 boats, numerous volunteers and one very green Chicago River. Seven motorboats followed the armada of 8+’s downtown from the Weed Street boathouse filled with coaches, photographers, and bagpipers who provided some authentic Irish inspiration for those rowing.
Rowers donned as much green as they could find to raise money and awareness for ROW. Onlookers from the bridges and riverbanks took pictures and were rewarded with beads from motorboats. Participants reached out to over 450 donors from all over the country to raise an astounding $28,000 for ROW. Fundraising athletes were rewarded with a St. Paddy’s Day inspired ROW rugby shirt from Charles River Apparel, a continued supporter of Recovery on Water.
Upon returning to the dock after sweeping through what can only be described as a festive, crowded, and green downtown riverfront, participants were able to wet their whistles and replenish their enthusiasm at the Whole Foods’ Red Star Bar. Along with beer and pizza (a traditional post-row meal going back as long as the sport has been around) supporters were able to purchase active wear from FOMO where 15% of proceeds went back to ROW.
A big thank you to our rowers, coxswains, volunteers, and sponsors for making the 2015 St. Pat’s Sprint for Recovery a huge success. A special thank you to CRF for an incredible event that will help ROW continue to provide support and programming to those who need it. ERIN ROW BRAUGH!

In an effort to expand our reach, ROW partnered with the Alliance Rowing Club to provide erg workouts at Northshore Fitness in Wilmette. With more practices in more locations, this partnership allows our survivors to stay active over the winter months. Each Tuesday night and Saturday morning Coach Donna, Coach Taylor, and Coach Amy challenge our survivors with intense, rowing-oriented workouts that are fast and fun.
Once the weather finally breaks Tuesday evenings will move outdoors to the Dammrich Rowing Center where survivors will be able to learn how to scull with the ARC coaching staff. These supplemental practices will help ROW members achieve their personal rowing goals as well as provide an enriching experience to round out their rowing resumes. 


As part of our winter training program many ROW members took part in some indoor racing. For the first time ROW put on its own indoor race, the 2K15. Exclusively for ROW members, participants raced 2,000 meters on the erg in the traditional indoor race format at ROW HQ. Complete with lanes and boats projected for all to see, participants were encouraged and supported by their coaches and teammates. Showing just how great the power of support and encouragement can be, several participants matched or bested their own personal records. We even had five survivors row a 2K for the first time! Check out some of the support and positivity here.


The 2K15 event was part of the team’s preparation for the Chicago Indoor Rowing Championships where six survivors raced. Four survivors achieved personal records (again!), two of which won gold medals in their categories.
Because of the fun had by all of our indoor racers, we plan on hosting another 2K15-type event at ROW headquarters this April. GO ROW!

Coaches' Corner

Meet Andrew Haried, the latest addition to the ROW coaching staff. A graduate of both St. Ignatius and Georgetown, Andrew will be coaching ROW 1 along with Coach Sheena and Coach John. Welcome, Andrew!

St. Pat's Rugby Shirts Available

Extra St. Pat's Sprint Rugby shirts are available for purchase here

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon

It seems early to be talking about an event happening in October but registration for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is now open. ROW was awarded 10 entries to the marathon, five of which have been spoken for by supporters of ROW. We have five entries left for anyone who loves to run, wants to test themselves with a full 26.2 miles and is willing to fundraise for Recovery on Water. CARA training for the marathon is provided at no cost so email Jenn with any questions or interest in running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for ROW.


Join the VINCE Boutique on Oak Street and Michele Willmott in support of Recovery on Water on Thursday, April 9th from 6pm to 9pm. VINCE's Spring/Summer 2015 Collection will be on display and available for purchase. Get ready to hit the town with VINCE when the warm weather gets here and feel good knowing that 20% of proceeds from the event will go back to ROW.

The Chicago Sprints

Our favorite 1,000 meter race, the Chicago Sprints hosted by Lincoln Park Boat Club takes place the second weekend in July at the Lincoln Park Lagoon. 

Metastatic Survivors Learn to ROW at LPBC

Metastatic breast cancer, also known as mbc, stage IV or Advanced Breast Cancer, is cancer that has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes under the arm. Given that the metastatic breast cancer community is smaller than the larger and more general breast cancer community, this free Learn to ROW event hosted by Lincoln Park Boat Club on August 23 is specifically for survivors, thrivers, patients, and fighters of metastatic breast cancer. Pass this on and register here today.


Were you a coxswain in a former life or want to learn how to be a coxswain? ROW is hosting a coxswain clinic for anyone who wants to learn how to cox. Coxswains on the ROW team do not have to be survivors, but they do have to be committed and wiling to learn.  Everything from rowing commands to docking procedures will be covered. Come to ROW HQ and bring a friend on Tuesday, April 21st at 6 pm to learn a different aspect of the sport.

Bike4ROW Seeking Support Van Donation

ROW is looking for a van to loan or the donation of a van for Bike4ROW, our cycling campaign around Lake Michigan. Please contact Jenn if you have a vehicle to loan or donate.
Special thanks to Charles River Apparel, year round sponsor of Recovery on Water. Over the last two years Charles River Apparel has supported the ROW team with over $5,000 in rowing gear, making it possible for every survivor to feel like part of the team.
“The essential values of rowing play a large part in Charles River Apparel’s company culture, which is why the mission of ROW aligns well with our charitable giving initiatives. Barry Lipsett, president of Charles River Apparel, had a sister pass away from cancer several years ago, so this cause is something that is near and dear to our hearts.”

-Deb Lipsett
Owner, Charles River Apparel

Thank you Charles River Apparel and the Lipsett family for your commitment to survivors and Recovery on Water.

USRowing Coaching Certification

In late February USRowing held its regional Level 2 Coaching Certification at ROW HQ. Instructor and Director of Rowing at Grand Valley State University, John Bancheri delivered an interesting and effective presentation of all the topics necessary for one to achieve their certification. Demonstrations as well as real-world examples helped attendees understand the many different aspects that go in to becoming an effective rowing coach. Everything from boat rigging to designing an efficient practice for every level of rower was covered in the two-day class. 25 coaches from around the Midwest achieved their level 2 certification and we look forward to hosting another clinic in 2016.

Bubbly Creek Presentation

On the evening of February 23rd students from the University of Chicago Law School: Abrams Environmental Law Clinic delivered a presentation about the history, status, and possible clean up of Bubbly Creek. With survivors, coaches, and various members of the Bridgeport community in attendance, students Andrew Adair, Evan Feinauer, Bette Muirhead, and Melissa Wu delivered a fascinating overview and presentation of the river we know and love. They shared with us why Bubbly Creek exists, why it is in the state that it is, and how we can help protect and clean it over time. Several options for its restoration are on the table including a $2.65 million feasibility study conducted but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This project is ongoing and these students will continue to investigate the legal options for cleaning up Bubbly Creek.

Created in 2013, ROW BLUE Camp is a rowing camp exclusively for survivors of breast cancer. For the past two summers Charley Sullivan, Russ Giacobbe, and Chris Lalande have been running ROW BLUE camp at Fountain Point Resort on the Leelenau Peninsula near Traverse City, Michigan. This year Charley and Russ, both coaches for the University of Michigan Men’s team along with Chris, a University of Wisconsin Women’s team coach will be hosting camp from Thursday, June 18th to Sunday, June 21st.
Kate (MacKenzie) Robbins will join the ROW BLUE camp coaching staff this year, a veteran of the U.S. Women’s National team 8+. Kate won gold at the World Championships in 2002 and raced the 2- in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

With nothing but rowing to focus on, the weekend proves to be a great opportunity for rowers of all levels to improve their technique and bond as a team. More information on the ROW Blue camp as well as how to register can be found at the ROW BLUE Camp website.

Last summer a group of determined and generous cyclists took off from Buckingham Fountain to ride 1,000 miles around Lake Michigan. A total of 47 cyclists participated in Bike4ROW, a 15 day cycling and fundraising campaign to secure a permanent home for ROW. Some for a day, some for a week, and a special breed of crazy (including ROW’s Executive Director) made the entire 1,000 mile ride.
With a three-year goal of raising $150,000, athletes managed to collect almost $52,000 in 2014. This year we are looking to eclipse last year’s success in participants and fundraising. Registration is now open for one-day, one-week, and two-week rides. For more information on the ride, donating, and to register visit
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