Water floods out much of Clermont Crew’s rowing season on Harsha Lake at East Fork

The Clermont Crew high school competitive rowing team has experienced a very unusual season on every bit of the flooded waters in the vicinity, but the team members still gather and practice if the weather permits. The members of the Clermont County team are, front row from left, John Hart, Patrick Klatte, Cameron Smith, Chris Andrews, and Greg Beach; row two, coach Brian Casto and Renee Dietz; row three, Kate Averwater, Christine Foster, Kerry Morrow, and head coach Lynne Graves: and row three, Sarah Hlass, Megan Wilson, Anita Imwalle, Sarah Wampler, Iman Said, Emma Melton, and Hannah Wallace.
Lynne Graves has served her first full year as the head coach of the Clermont Crew, a team of athletes who compete in rowing events throughout much of the central part of this area and the United States.

Herself, a good competitor in the sport, she is the wife and mother of other locally and nationally renowned competitors in this sport.

“My husband was a very good and frequent rower and I found that I needed to begin rowing so I could get some time to spend with him,” laughed the New Richmond area resident who has now being rowing, herself, for 25 years.

“This was the second season for me. I also coached them in the fall last year and the season was successful for us,” said Graves. “I heard there was an opening for a coach this season and I wanted to help the kids and teach them how to row and to learn to love the sport. I love the sport. I row out there (Harsha Lake) myself as an master (adult).”

The home course and training facilities and storage areas for all the necessary items are in Clermont County at East Fork State Park.

“I really enjoy working with the kids. They work hard and they’re now seeing the results of their hard work.”

The rain shouldn’t be a drawback to a sport that needs plenty of water, but this spring it was overdone it quite a bit.

“Rowing is a water sport. We don’t mind the rain. This has just been so overdone because of the water level. We had to continuously move our docks. I’ve never seen the level of the lake so high. The boat house was under water. We had to evacuate a lot of our equipment out of there. We did as much as we could do on such short notice.”

One of the biggest and most disappointing of the setbacks caused by the flooded lake was not being able to host some competitions.

Graves believes that the cancellation of the Midwest Scholastic Championships that were to take place on Harsha Lake May 14 and 15 had a negative economic impact on the county.

“The Midwest Scholastic Championships is co-hosted by the Clermont Crew and having to cancel it eliminated about 3,000 competitors and their families from coming and staying in the county for the weekend.”

The weekend of May 21 and 22 the Midwest Junior Rowing Championship was scheduled to take place. This is a prestigious event.

“The Midwest Junior is a regional event for clubs like us. It’s a qualifier to the nationals,” said Clermont’s coach. Teams that do battle for berths in the nationals are from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

On June 11 and 12 will be the national championships that will take place in Oak Ridge, Tn.

“The top three teams in each event from the qualifiers are invited to the nationals,” said Graves.

“We have some crews that could qualify.”

She singled out the boys and girls quadruple scull and the boys and girls double scull. In the scull races each competitor uses two oars instead of just one.

“We’re the best, competitively in the scull events, but practicing has been a challenge. The water was high, but we had to compete out on the water that was also being used by motor boats and fishermen. We have been enjoying ourselves, but it is a challenge. . .

“What I want to do and accomplish is to give our local high school kids something new and something fun to take part and compete in.”

Clermont Crew Roster

Chris Andrews, Amelia High School senior; Kate Averwater, a senior, home schooler; Greg Beach, Amelia High School senior; Marie Cordes, Amelia High School junior; Maggie Cowens, McNicholas High School senior; Christine Foster, McNicholas High School junior; Renee Dietz, Glen Este High School sophomore; John Hart, Amelia High School senior; Rob Herbolt, Glen Este High School junior; Sarah Hlass, a junior, home schooler; Maddie Humbert, Batavia High School junior; Anita Imwalle, a sophomore, home schooler; Patrick Klatte, McNicholas High School senior; Emma Melton, Williamsburg High School senior; Kerry Morrow, McNicholas High School junior; Anna Musselman, Miami Valley Christian Academy sophomore; Brett Pavia, Amelia High School senior; Brittany Riley, New Richmond High School sophomore; Iman Said, Walnut Hills High School sophomore; Justin Saylor, Batavia High School junior; Kelsey Seibert, Glen Este eighth grader; Cameron Smith, a senior, home schooler; Ricky Vandergrift, an eighth grader, home schooler; Megan Wilson, Miami Valley Christian Academy, sophomore; Hannah Wallace, Bethel-Tate High School sophomore; Sarah Wampler, McNicholas High School junior.