Sussex County Rowing Club - Sparta Rowing Club

$5,100 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 43 people in 4 months
Created March 3, 2019
Fundraising Team
Sussex County Rowing Club - Sparta Rowing Club has been slowly growing over the past 4 years.  We have recently received a generous donation with a fundraising challenge.

If we raise an additional $5000.00 by March 31st, 2019, the donor has pledged an additional $5000.00 matching donation.

Any donation will help make a difference. Thanks in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to me as well as to many of the Sparta High school kids who have been positively impacted by rowing.

Our Story

Rowing on Lake Mohawk has been an idea I’ve had ever since I saw Gerry Gregory carrying his rowing shell across East Shore Trail to Beach 2 in the 1980’s as I was riding the bus to Sparta High School.  I always thought it looked like something I’d like to try, but didn’t really know what it was, and there wasn’t anywhere to try it out.

I next saw rowing when I was at college in Philadelphia.  At the time University of Pennsylvania had one of the top crew programs in the country.  Again, I was interested, but I had committed to swimming for the university and never made the transition to the sport.

When I was in graduate school I almost made it into a rowing shell.  I met the boatman (the guy who takes care of all the boats) for Cornell University while ski patrolling, and although we tried to make arrangements to get me into a shell that spring, it never worked out.

After getting married in 1997, and while watching the 2000 summer Olympics, I told my wife how much I had wished I had been able to try rowing.  That winter she bought me a Concept2 indoor rowing machine. In 2002, a year after having my son, Finn, I got in touch with a coach at the USRowng national team in Princeton.  She was kind enough to finally get me in a racing shell.  I fell in love with the sport instantly.  After another session I was able to purchase a used shell.  I was finally able to start rowing on Lake Mohawk.

I started training and competing in regattas from Delaware to Boston, MA, placing second in the grandaddy of US regattas, The Head of the Charles, for the club Men’s Single Scull in 2007, and winning my age group at the Master’s World Championship in Princeton, NJ in 2006.


I introduced the sport to my father, who decided he also wanted to try it after seeing me race.  We were able to race a double scull together at the Head of the Charles for a charity event.


My son Finn had enthusiastically tried many sports;  soccer, baseball, lacrosse, tennis, martial arts, cycling, running and swimming.  He participated and had fun but none of them really “took”.  When I introduced him to rowing on Lake Mohawk in the summer of 2013, it was like he was struck by lightening.  When we came off the water after the first day he asked me “Where can I do this?  I want to do this!  Does the high school have this?”.  When I asked him why he was so excited, he responded “Nothing has ever made me feel like this. It makes everything feel good!”  It was then that we started our quest to start our rowing club.

Finn began training with me in the double and we occasionally traveled to a reservoir almost an hour away, where a club allowed us to put Finn in  the right size single for him.

In 2014 he was able to enter his first major regatta, the Head of the Schuylkill, a 2 1/2 mile long race in Philadelphia.  


When Finn started at Sparta High School, he began working on establishing a rowing club.  He started entering regattas in the spring of 2016, rowing independently, but as a student of Sparta High School.  In 2017, Finn was able to represent Sparta High School at several scholastic regattas, also in Philadelphia, a city which he began to love.


 In 2017, the Sparta High School Board of Ed approved the Sparta Rowing Club.  In the spring of 2018 our club began training on 5 rowing machines (ergometers or “ergs") that had been granted to the Sparta High School Physical Education Department by the Sparta Education Foundation (SEF).  In the spring of 2018 the SEF granted an additional 10 ergs to Sparta High School.

In the spring of 2018, the Sparta Rowing Club was able to have our first training on Lake Mohawk rowing out of Sleepy Lagoon Beach in two quads donated by the Isak Anderson Memorial Fund to the rowing club.  Because it was reminiscent of what my son said to me after his first day of rowing, my favorite quote from one of my first year, freshman rowers last spring after our first on the water practice was “That was a life altering experience!”


Our goal and mission is to create more “Life altering experiences”, and to teach teamwork, to inspire dedication, drive and devotion to one’s crew, to each other, to our community, and to ourselves.

The rowing club has had an impact beyond our club.  Thanks to the work of the rowing club and the Sparta Education Foundation, another group of students at Sparta High School were able to try a new sport.  Four students from Sparta High School represented Sparta High School in the Special Olympics for the first time in rowing on the indoor rowing machine at the CRASH-P's in Princeton thanks to the work of Jennifer Schock, Tina Johnson & Monica Wall, Sparta High School Special Olympics Rowing Coaches.


Thanks for taking the time to read this. We appreciate your support, enthusiasm and any help you can give to this fledgling endeavor.

In the fall of 2018, Finn was accepted into his top 2 college choices; Drexel  and Temple Universities in Philadelphia, having been recruited by both rowing programs.  Both universities are Division I NCAA schools. He has decided to commit to rowing for Drexel University in the fall of 2019.


P.S. - Finn’s first sculling blades (oars) were donated to Finn by Michael Gregory, Sparta Middle School’s Principal, upon the passing of his uncle Gerry Gregory.  Just a continuance in this circular saga...
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We're extremely excited to have met our goal! Thank you for all your help. The following is a statement from the donor who issued this fundraising challenge to us. I hope it's as inspiring to you as it was for me and our crew.

"I was a high school rower and now realize that rowing was one of the most formative experiences for me and my crew.  Now that I’m retired, giving to the Sussex Rowing Club is the best way for me to say “thank you, rowing, for all the good you have done for me throughout my life.”  
Why row? From my own high school experience, I know that rowing is by far the best sport for any young adult’s body, mind and spirit.
Physically, rowing uses and develops every muscle, but with precision and finesse.  Yet rowing is a very safe, non-contact sport that leaves no permanent injuries or scars.
Mentally, the stamina, discipline and heart demanded by rowing leads to a mental toughness and determination that lasts a lifetime. And there is no sport where teamwork is more necessary or the a sense of camaraderie greater: there are no “stars” and no “quitters” in rowing, just a team of four or eight rowers where each gives everything for the team.
Spiritually, there is nothing like the exhilaration of being “in the swing:” four or eight rowers in perfect harmony at a high stroke rate nearing the end of a race.  And just being on quiet water for practice in the early morning or the late afternoon is its own special, unique reward for rowers.
All of this makes  stronger, healthier and more disciplined young adults and sets them up with a foundation upon which to build successful adult lives.
I hope the Sussex Rowing Club grows under Tim Holovac’s leadership so that every young adult in the Sparta area has the same opportunity I had to row and be part of a great and historic sport. It is a great pleasure to support Tim and the Rowing Club."
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Hello All,

I've had a few people ask if they could send a check rather than donate here. If you'd like to do the same, please send any donations to:
Sussex County Rowing Club
C/O Tim Holovacs
10 Pine Cone Lane
Sparta, NJ 07871
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$5,100 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 43 people in 4 months
Created March 3, 2019
Fundraising Team
Funds raised will benefit:
Sussex County Rowing Club
Certified Charity
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Sparta, NJ
EIN: 810969129
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Eric Lindquist
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Buddy Al-Aydi
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Alfons Minko
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Double D--Member of Marist College Crew Team ('94-'96) De Crescenzi
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