“What really comes out when watching the kids race is how their confidence grows,” Andrusiak said. “It surprises them to discover that they have so much in them.”
RIVERSPORT offers camps and other ways to introduce children and adults to rowing and kayaking.
Wierenga said didn't like his first attempt to row during one of RIVERSPORT's camps when he was in the eighth grade, but he kept coming back. He thinks he dropped about 20 pounds in his first month of rowing.
“I was really, really chubby and kind of short then, and I just grew and I got thinner because of how much work we were doing,” he said.
Today he has two gold medals for different events — the Dallas Sweat and the Central District Youth Championships in an eight-man boat — and has traveled with his team to nationals. He practices about 18 hours a week over six days and aspires to row in college.
His favorite boat is an eight-man boat, where eight rowers row and a coxswain steers the boat and coaches the crew on the water.
“They are the biggest boats and they go the fastest,” Wierenga said.