Summer of 1998

What is the value in learning something new?

Looking back at the summer of 1998, that was the year I began learning more about this sport of sculling. After several years of sculling and learning mostly on my own, I traveled up north to two sculling camps, Craftsbury Sculling Center in Vermont, and later in the summer, to the NorthEast Rowing Center in Maine.

At Craftsbury I learned the value of how a properly rigged shell can truly fit the athlete in an entirely different way. I also learned that sculling is more than just a series of goals, drills, and measured distances. Relaxing and simply enjoying the movement in the shell over the water changed the way I experienced sculling. My time at Craftsbury in 1998 was so enjoyable that I have returned nearly every summer ever since.

At the NorthEast Rowing Center I had the opportunity to learn from two coaches, Brad Alan Lewis and Jimmy Joy. The difference here is that the group of scullers I was in was lead by the same coach for two and half days and then switched to work with the other coach for another two and half days. This format really allowed each coach to guide their athletes in their way of teaching the sport over an extended period. What stands out most in my memory was just how much different the style of each coach was in how they taught and described sculling.

Since at the time there wasn’t much opportunity to be coached in sculling at home, traveling to camps, clinics and conferences became a regular part of my learning process over many years.

As I look back, the value I found in learning from so many terrific coaches over the years is in understanding that there are just so many different ways to view the sport of sculling. Learning, much like sculling, is a lifelong pursuit. And in turn, sharing what I have learned with other athletes continues to be very rewarding.

Who knew the long drives up north in the summer of 1998 would begin this journey of learning that continues through today.


By Mike Wagner

Mike began rowing in 1992 during his freshman year at Hofstra University. He learned to scull the following summer at the Sagamore Rowing Association. Mike worked with the Joy of Sculling as the Program Manager for the Coaching Conferences from 2013-2019. He continues to actively scull and coach both at Sagamore and at the Craftsbury Outdoors Center in Vermont.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.