HISTORY OF THE GREATER DAYTON ROWING ASSOCIATION
In May of 1992, a group of four rowers met for the first time to discuss promoting rowing in the greater Dayton area. The four individuals were Jim Wall, Charles Doyle, Dr. Todd Sobol, and Steve Herbert. Doyle, Sobol and Herbert had all participated in crew during their college years. By November of 1992, the group had incorporated the Greater Dayton Rowing Association (G.D.R.A.) as a not for profit corporation. G.D.R.A. has been the prime sponsor of rowing in the greater Dayton area since its incorporation.
In 1994 G.D.R.A. started the area’s first rowing program for high school students, known as the G.D.R.A. Juniors. An adult Learn-To-Row program was also established so that those interested in the sport could have access to sculling classes and equipment.
From its early days, G.D.R.A. worked closely with the Five Rivers Metro Park personnel on mutual issues of concern. The most visible sign of that collaboration came in 1995 when the Island Metro Park boathouse was completed and became the permanent home of G.D.R.A., providing safe and secure housing for the rowing shells, oars and other equipment. The boathouse is located on Helena Street directly across the street from Five Rivers Metro Park’s Island Park and near the dock where the rowers launch the shells. The boathouse is also located directly across the Great Miami River from the Dayton Canoe Club on Riverside Drive.
In September of 1995, G.D.R.A. hosted its first fall regatta. The regatta was originally known as the Five Rivers Fall Regatta and was renamed the Charles Doyle Memorial Regatta in honor of G.D.R.A. founding member Charles Doyle who passed away in the summer of 2007. The regatta, which is contested on the Great Miami River, is a 2000 meter course which begins under the I-75 Bridge adjacent to Island Park. The Charles Doyle Memorial Regatta draws high school, college and adult rowing crews from throughout the Midwest to Dayton each fall.
G.D.R.A. offers rowing programs for just about every age. The Rookie Rowers program is for ages 12-14. The G.D.R.A. Juniors is for high school students, and the Adult Rowing program is for ages 18 and up. G.D.R.A. and its rowing crews travel extensively during the competitive rowing seasons in the fall, spring and summer months. Regattas at which G.D.R.A. crews have competed include the Speakman in Columbus, Ohio, the Head of the Ohio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Oakridge Scholastic Regatta in Oakridge, Tennessee, Ecorse in Detroit, Michigan, the Head of the Eagle in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the Canadian Henley in Ontario, Canada, to name a few.
For more information about G.D.R.A. rowing visit www.DaytonRowing.org.