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Sep. 20, 2020
1:26 am


LLOP news: new coach/cancelations

  By Jane Harrison

LLRC youth begin season with new coach
The Lake Lanier Rowing Club youth program is launching into the fall season with a new coach meeting the challenges of leading teenagers through the rough waters of a pandemic.
“We can’t practice in team boats. All will be in singles,” said Howell Buot, who began coaching duties in late summer. He explained that in his traditional rowing curriculum, beginners start in 8-boats and gradually progress to solo. But, to allow social distancing, members will be alone in assigned boats while he is “herding cats” to keep them together.
“We will be stressing communication on the water,” he said. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in one’s own system” and not see another boat at the bow. Team members must be patient and alert to practice together in single boats, he said.
Buot takes the helm from interim coach John Ferriss, a long time LLRC coach who filled in after the departure of Tracey Tallman. The former UGA crewman has worked with several metro Atlanta clubs, including programs at Westminster Schools, Peachtree City and the Atlanta Rowing Club.
Buot will shepherd 8-10 middle schoolers and 20-25 high schoolers for LLRC this season. Practice was to begin Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. He planned to divide teams into two squads practicing in different sessions since the club lacks enough single boats to put them all on the water at the same time. One day a week they will all report for separate water and land workouts.
Since US Rowing canceled all regattas this year, Buot plans some competitive events to incentivize training and gauge race-worthiness. He hopes to host a rowing half-marathon on Lanier and compete in a couple of scrimmages and virtual ergattas.

Dragon boat selection camp canceled
Cancellations due to coronavirus shut down another event at Lake Lanier Olympic Park this summer. Team USA Dragon Boat Selection Camp originally scheduled this month was called off.
“It’s impossible to do proper dragon boats with social distancing guidelines,” said Jim O’Dell, Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club Dragon Boat Coach. “World Championships has been canceled, too.” Dragon boats carry from 10 to 20 paddlers in close proximity.
The camp would have brought Team USA hopefuls together to try out for spots to compete in the International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Championship originally scheduled early next year.
Team USA won the world championship on Lake Lanier in 2018 when O’Dell served as Dragon Boat USA chairman.
As of late August, neither Team USA nor ICF had announced rescheduling.
The dragon boat camp cancellation falls in the wake of numerous other LLOP events lost at LLOP since March. Those include the John Hunter and American Collegiate Rowing Association rowing regattas, sprint canoe/kayak Olympic team qualifiers, and the Atlanta Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, traditionally the largest gathering at the venue.
Food Truck Fridays resumed over the summer, with the finale set for Sept. 11. Prior to Lakeside’s deadline, LCKC still planned on holding Moonlight Paddles Sept. 4 and Oct. 4, and youth paddling events Sept. 12 and 19.

Posted online 8/28/20

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