Oak Ridge Rowing Association offering free practice for high schoolers this week

For the first week of the fall season, Atomic Youth is letting kids practice for free
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 12:43 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Oak Ridge Rowing Association’s Atomic Youth program hit the water for the start of its fall season Monday afternoon.

For the first week of the season, the club is letting kids who are new to the sport try it out for free.

“We’re looking for kids who want to try a new sport,” said coach John Davis, or JD as he’s known around the boathouse. Davis is a former head coach at Stanford University and the husband of Lady Vols assistant coach Wendy Davis.

Davis helps the program coast smoothly and says rowing is a sport that a lot of kids find after trying out the typical team sports like football and basketball.

“We like to say it’s the land of lost and broken toys, where somebody hasn’t found their sport yet. This is a great one and a lot of fun.”

It’s exactly the spot Noelle Fuchs was in almost two years ago. The Webb senior is headed to Duke to compete on the University’s rowing team next fall.

“I would consider myself kind of athletic, but every sport that I’ve done - soccer, track, everything high schools have - and it’s never really worked out. I never felt like I was a starter. I was kind of more of a benchwarmer and then I started rowing and it didn’t come easily, but it felt like it was for me and that I could really do well in it,” said Fuchs.

Like any other team sport, rowing helps teach kids life lessons.

“The program becomes very meaningful to them and very valuable to them because they work together as a unit. Everything is structured and they get a little bit of that foxhole mentality, especially when they go out on the boat,” said Davis.

The Atomic Youth program holds workouts Monday through Friday from 4:15-6:15 p.m. at the ORRA boathouse on Melton Lake Drive in Oak Ridge.

ORRA is observing the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the state and Anderson County

For more information, or to sign up for practice, click this link.

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