National operator, Hamilton rowing center part ways

The Great Miami Rowing Center and a national organization have parted ways after 1½ years of a partnership aimed at growing the program and helping the city's efforts to revitalize water activities along the Great Miami River.

The nonprofit Great Miami Rowing Center, or GMRC, partnered with RowAmerica to form RowAmerica Hamilton in 2015. The partnership allowed the local organization to field a more competitive rowing team, introduce paralympic rowing and link to development efforts along the Great Miami River.

“After starting the Great Miami Rowing Center (GMRC) program in 2008 and operating it successfully for six years, GMRC saw an opportunity to grow the program more quickly through a management operations agreement with the nationally-recognized RowAmerica organization,” said Mimi Rasor, board president of GMRC.

But after an 18-month partnership, “both parties determined a separation offered the best path forward for further growth of rowing in Hamilton,” she said.

GMRC has resumed operations of all rowing programming, including youth, adaptive and adult levels, according to Rasor. There is no longer a RowAmerica in Hamilton, she said.

Among other things, GMRC provides scholarships to disabled athletes and students who otherwise couldn’t afford the rowing costs. The organization also is working to create a state-of-the-art boathouse, with indoor training facilities and boat storage. GMRC reaches students students throughout southwest Ohio with its programs.

Rasor said the club got a fresh start with new branding for a competitive racing team called Great Miami Crew. The competitive youth program gained 15 new athletes, with nearly 40 youth and adult rowers competing in regattas throughout the fall and boats medaling at nearly every event.

“The energy around the club is truly unbelievable,” Rasor said. “I have been involved with the club for the past seven years and can’t remember a time when there were so many people standing ready to give of their time, energy and talent to help us move forward quickly and successfully. Such great people involved in our programming and in the Hamilton community that could not be more supportive.”

Several personnel and coaching changes have also been made as a result of the split.

GMRC hired Kristina Latta-Landefeld into the executive director position of the club to manage all operations and coaching. She replaces Joy Nix, who ran operations for the now defunct RowAmerica Hamilton.

Kyle Stanley, the girls rowing coach at Marquette University, has accepted an offer to become head coach of Great Miami Crew and will begin that role in January, according to Rasor.

A spokeswoman for Susan Schmidt, director of operations for the national RowAmerica program, said the organization has been pulling out of several cities across the country.

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