NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – It’s another day on the water for the Coastal Virginia Community Rowing team, except the team isn’t in their usual home.
COVID-19 presented a unique challenge for the team. They lost a lot of rowers and had to spend days on indoor rowers instead of in the water.
Recently, they’ve been able to get back to normal. That’s until another problem popped up.
“Now that they can come back and get the numbers back, they don’t have the facility to row in. It’s a double whammy,” Brian Miller said.
The team had to settle for a dock on the Layfayette River in Norfolk.
It makes it hard for the team, mostly comprised of Virginia Beach high school students, to commute every day.
All of this is stunting the team’s growth.
“It should grow. It’s an amazing sport,” said Melissa Kuch, Coastal Virginia Community Rowing coach.
Kuch said having a spot to call home would help them grow the sport in the community, but it’ll take help from the city of Virginia Beach.
“It’s going to take the support from the city, especially (since) we have Councilman (Chris) Taylor out here,” she said. “We are told we need two or three more to join the bandwagon.”
Lucky for them, Taylor decided to get on board, literally. He climbed into one of the boats to experience just what the students do daily.
“If it keeps them out of isolation, if it gets them out talking to people, building relationships, it’s positive for the whole community,” he said.
Kuch is hoping Taylor’s experience will show the Virginia Beach City Council how important it is to invest in crew.
“It’s the ultimate team sport,” Kuch said. “You are literally moving your hand an inch, and everyone has to do the same thing. We want the access in Virginia for our athletes, but it’s to grow the community.”
She said the first step is getting that boathouse for the team. Then, she’ll continue to work with the school district to recruit students.