The History of Central Ohio Rowing (formerly Dublin Crew)

During the Summer of 2019, Dublin Crew was renamed and rebranded as Central Ohio Rowing to more fully reflect the community comprising its membership.

Dublin Crew was founded in the late summer of 1991 by Joanne Cooper-Novak. After visiting with members of the Greater Columbus Rowing Association (GCRA), Joanne was able to recruit Robin Kingma and Kelly Mackey, to volunteer their services for 2 1/2 years to get the Dublin Crew program started.

Robin Kingma began her career as a three-year varsity rower at Marietta Senior High School. At Duke University, Robin was a four-year varsity rower.  After graduation from Duke, Robin coached Dublin Crew for four years. Robin was a four-year Masters rower with GCRA and served as president of this organization for two years. Kelly Mackey rowed for the Ohio State University Varsity Women’s team for three years. After graduation from OSU, Kelly moved to California and rowed for the Mission Bay and Long Beach Rowing Clubs. In 1990, Kelly returned to Ohio and coached at OSU for a year before joining the Dublin Crew coaching staff.

During the summer of 1991, the first season of Dublin crew, six young innocents were not-so-gently persuaded to become the original members of Dublin High School Team. The rowers were Sarah Cooper­ Novak, Leah Glowacki, Jacque Newton, Laura Seamans and Wendy Swart, and Lisa Leppert was the coxswain. After only five weeks of practice, these ladies entered their first race, the Speakmon Regatta. At this race, all of Dublin’s competitors were college teams. Our upstart young high school team captured a highly respectable second place.

At the end of the first crew season, Laura Seamans left the team. The remaining five members became the “Founding Five.” These five determined young ladies set an outstanding example for the future members of the Dublin Crew. They worked together for six seasons before graduating in 1994. They rowed their last race for Dublin High School at the Toledo International Regatta. At Toledo, they won the prestigious Ladies Cup for Dublin. All five of these women rowed for college teams: Sarah Cooper-Novak, Ohio State University; Jacque Newton, Purdue University; Leah Glowacki, University of Dayton; and Wendy Swart and Lisa Leppert, Miami University.

From Founding Five to Fab 50

After one year, Dublin Crew grew from the “Founding Five” to the fabulous number of 50.  With the increase in crew members, the coaching staff also grew. In addition to the varsity coaches, Robin Kingma and Kelly Mackey, the team had two novice coaches, Laura Beck and Paul Moore, and two assistant coaches, Tim Freund and Toby Thogmartin. The Dublin business community contributed generously through their donations and participation as sponsors of Dublin Crew. As a result of this support, during the second season, the team purchased two used four-man boats, one used the eight-man boat, 24 oars, and the crown jewel of the fleet: their first unsullied, shining shell, the “J.R. Mason.” In addition to the boats and oars, the fantastic Dublin trailer was lovingly constructed by J.R. (Jim) Mason, John Leppert, Steve Kuhnash and David Novak.

As to the name Dublin Crew, it is the original name that focused on the suburban area. The team has never been associated with the Dublin City Schools. In fact, from day one, Dublin Crew has attracted rowers from many cities including Columbus, Grove City, Hilliard, Marysville, Plain City, Powell, Westerville, and Worthington. In 2005, Dublin Crew evaluated a name change to either Scioto Rowing Club, The Greater Columbus Youth Rowing Club or The Big Green Machine. It was concluded to keep Dublin Crew.

Bragging Rights

Dublin Crew is proud to have been the first high school team in the Columbus area. In the first 25 years of existence, Dublin Crew .  .  .

  • led the charge for other high schools in Central Ohio to organize their own crew teams including merging with one of the teams, Wellington, in the early 2000’s;
  • has had 34 coaches teach more than 400 high school athletes the sport of rowing on the Scioto River at Griggs Reservoir;
  • has seen these same athletes row or cox at the Dayton, George Washington, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, University of Miami (FL), The Ohio State University, Old Dominion, Purdue, and Rutgers,  to name a few;
  • relocated from the west side of Griggs Reservoir to the East Side;
  • built a wonderful boat compound that will house more than 20 boats