Rowing director and head girls’ coach John Redos ’09 is excited that Blair crew teams will be hard at work indoors this winter as they look for a break from the chilly temperatures and blustery winds on Lake Paulinskill. While the School always had an ergometer room in the basement of Hardwick Hall, this year Blair athletes will train in the Crew Training Center (formerly the Park Street maker space), a state-of-the-art facility especially designed and constructed to facilitate training over the winter months.
With construction recently finished, the Center is the latest campus enhancement to be completed as part of Blair’s 2018-2025 Strategic Plan, All In. This new facility, along with the J. Li Golf Training Center and winter sports complex, reflects Blair’s continuing commitment to provide student-athletes with the resources, equipment and support necessary to excel at the highest levels. The fact that Blair is only one of a handful of high schools in the United States to offer such a training center speaks to how much the School is prioritizing the growth of its rowing program.
The Crew Training Center features dedicated weight- and ergometer-training areas, as well as an eight-seat sweep/sculling tank, which allows rowers the opportunity to practice year-round in optimal conditions. “Indoor tank facilities are rare,” said Coach Redos, “and adding this resource will enable our program to take training and competition to the next level. The Crew Center is going to be an invaluable asset to Blair rowing.”
Blair already enjoys a strong rowing tradition, with the boys’ and girls’ crew teams winning a multitude of titles and championships in recent years. In 2021, the girls’ team made Blair history, earning the silver medal in the Scholastic Rowing Association of America (SRAA) National Championship. The team also consistently dominates the Mid-Atlantic Prep League, winning MAPL championships in 2007, 2008, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2021. The up-and-coming Blair boys’ team similarly brought home titles in 2007 and 2008, and Coach Redos fondly recalls celebrating those victories with his teammates during his days as a Blair athlete.
Coach Redos believes that the indoor facility will allow Blair to become more competitive with club teams, honing athletes’ skills by providing opportunities to improve in an individual setting. In addition to allowing rowers to practice at times convenient to their class schedules, the Center will also provide coaching staff with the ability to provide live instruction and demonstrate at close range. “With an indoor tank, coaches will be able to tap the rowers’ oars and guide the coxswain in a way that is impossible when they are out on the water,” said Coach Redos. Athletes, who cannot usually study their performance in real time, will also be able to fine-tune their technique by using mirrors and video recording to monitor progress.
The new Crew Training Center has been partially funded through generous gifts from the Blair community. Donors in the early phase of the project gave their vote of confidence in the future of Blair athletes, and the School is now reaching out to the larger community of parents, alumni and friends to support renovations to the existing building, the eight-person rowing tank, upgraded strength training equipment, new ergs and future operations. Naming opportunities are still available. Those interested in honoring a family member or loved one, paying tribute to someone who helped them or simply supporting this new stage of growth for the next generation of Blair athletes through a named gift should contact Chief Advancement Officer Craig Hall at email@example.com or (908) 362-2032.
Prominently located at the base of Blair’s campus on Park Street, the premier crew training center will be dedicated on Friday, October 22, 2021, over Family Weekend.