This is Nereid Boat Club
By Jennifer Ersalesi
On the banks of the Passaic River on Riverside Ave, there is a beautiful boat club, Nereid Boat Club, that houses a private, not for profit organization that enables athletes of all ages to compete in recreational rowing opportunities. Nereid is a member of the United States Rowing Association and the Passaic River Coalition. Its competitive teams participate in Fall and Spring regattas all over the Northeast (http://nereidbc.org/).
TIR: Nereid was re-established in 1994 in Rutherford, making this year its 25th Anniversary. How have you seen it grow throughout the years?
DG: I have only been with the club since 2015, but I know that it has gone through many changes. In the 90’s the club started out very small. It started out with a handful of friends who worked to renovate our current boathouse. Throughout the 90’s, the club grew in its membership when it began focusing on adult rowing. Throughout the years several school teams started out of Nereid and now there is a much larger emphasis on youth rowing at Nereid in addition to adult rowing.
TIR: At what age can someone join the Nereid Boat Club?
DG: Rowers can join our middle school programs starting in 6th grade, however, younger kids can still take private lessons and adults of all ages can become club members as well. One program for youth interested in rowing is the Learn to Row program (which prepares them for junior high school and middle school teams).
TIR: Lisa Rangel told TIR, "“We drove past Nereid on Riverside Drive for years before ever stepping inside. I always wrongly assumed it was just for adults. Nereid’s high school and middle school program are amazing for kids. The disciplined development from the coaches applies to all aspects of life and not just crew. The kids learn to work together towards a goal. The kids come from all around Rutherford, so my daughter, who is a Nereid row team member, has friends from all over northern NJ, too, in addition to Rutherford. Nereid is such a little gem in our town and I am glad we finally stepped inside.” Why do you think being on a rowing team is so beneficial for children and adults?
DG: Rowing requires a high level of focus and is a true team sport. This is because rowers must row in unison, which means that rowers learn how to work together and pay attention to detail. There is also a great camaraderie that develops among rowers, especially those who train in the same boat together. Additionally, it is a great full-body exercise that can also be a lifelong sport.
TIR: What can you tell us about the regattas that your teams compete in Fall and Spring?
DG: Our rowers compete in both local and national regattas, racing as close as Lyndhurst and as far as California. In the fall, the largest races we compete in are the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, MA and the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Philadelphia, PA. In the spring, our most competitive races are the Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships in Princeton, NJ and the US Rowing Youth National Championships. We go to a variety of regattas that cater to athletes of all skill levels.
TIR: Current member of the high school rowing team, RHS Junior Nina Rangel, explained, “Rowing has made me into the person I am today, by introducing me to some of my best high school experiences and getting me into college a year early.” Nina will be attending Clarkson University in upstate NY this fall. What do the members of the rowing teams enjoy most about being part of Nereid?
DG: Rowers stick with Nereid for a variety of reasons. I would say that some of rowers enjoy the communal nature and camaraderie that comes with being a part of the club, while other rowers love the great full-body workout and the therapeutic nature of rowing on the water.
TIR: How do you campaign for fundraising?
DG: We hold a few annual fundraising events, such as the Riverside Cinco de Mayo Fundraiser. Two of our other fundraisers include our Team Erg-a-thon held every February and our Million Meter Team Relay that takes place in April. These two events involve our youth athletes participating in different styles of team relays on the rowing machines while also trying to solicit donations. We rely heavily on donations from our youth rowers' parents and families, and adult club members.
TIR: What is the Riverside Cinco de Mayo Fundraiser? When will it take place?
DG: Essentially, it is a Cinco de Mayo themed party along the river where guests can eat, drink, and participate in a silent auction while mingling and meeting new people. There will also be music at the event. It will take place on Saturday, May 4th from 4:30 - 7:30 PM. The cost is $25 per person and $60 for a family of three or more. The proceeds will go towards some much needed equipment purchases for the club.