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History of ARC

Some Key Points in Annapolis Rowing Club History

Annapolis Rowing Club traces its roots to July, 1982 when The Public Enterprise published a letter from
Pat Guida soliciting women to row in Annapolis:
“To the Editor: I am interested in the sport of rowing, with a crew, in a shell, in Annapolis, with
other women, with an experienced coxswain, in the early morning hours. I do not have access to
a shell, but could round up the women, I think, by contacting friends and advertising in a
newspaper. I would like to use your publication to initiate the project. Would you please advise
me? Patricia C. Guida, Annapolis.”
By September of that year the club consisted of fifteen women with Pat Weaver, President; Kathy Roys,
Vice President; Sue Wishart, Secretary; and Susan Cummings, Treasurer. The Annapolis Evening
Capital reported:
“Recent Radcliffe College graduate Maureen Lamb is among a group of area women attempting
to organize an independent women’s crew. Maureen was a crew member as a collegian and is
one of the more experienced women in this venture. The group invites any women wishing to join
this contingent to call Pat Weaver at 263-9591 for information. The women will get a chance to
test their desire to row tomorrow when they have the opportunity to use the Navy tanks. “
And from the Public Enterprise:
“The newly-formed Annapolis Rowing Club, using the facilities of the Baltimore Rowing Club,
tested its mettle (and admittedly limited rowing skills) on the Patapsco River off Fells Point on
Saturday, Sep. 18. One of Annapolis’ coaches, Maureen (Muff) Lamb, a veteran of the crew of
Harvard College. eased the early morning participants into an 8-man shell which measured 61
feet and weighed 350 pounds. The president of the Baltimore Club, Steven Perry, offered the
additional assistance of club member Chuck Selden, who rowed for the University of Washington.
Chuck, a competitive oarsman, rowed alongside in a single, shouting repeated instructions and
words of encouragement…”
In January, 1983 Annapolis Rowing Club was incorporated. The President was Maureen “Muff” Lamb a
four year veteran of the Radcliffe College lightweights. In February ARC purchased its first boat for
$1,000 from TC Williams High School: “Trice Gravett,” a circa 1959 wooden Pocock eight.
Arrangements were made to store the shell in the St. John’s College boathouse, at that time little used by
the College.
On April 1, 1983 an announcement appeared in the Evening Capital:
“On Monday evening the new Annapolis Rowing Club will hold its first general organization
meeting. Membership in the club is open to anyone with an interest in rowing. The meeting will
begin at 7:30 at the Maryland Inn. A program of speakers and slides is planned, as is a short
reception . . . .”

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Washington Post Outdoors columnist and Annapolis resident Angus Phillips came out for a row with
ARC in late July, 1983. He reported on the experience in the paper’s August 5 th edition:
“Who ever heard of a boat club with 64 members and one boat?
That’s the Annapolis Rowing Club, and it beats what it was a year ago - a boat club with no
boats at all.
Membership in ARC is growing, putting an increasing strain on the boat. With enough people for
eight full crews and a lot of visitors and first-time tryouts dropping around, the club’s 24-year old
shell is taking a beating these days.
“It goes out seven days a week,” says club membership chairman Pat Guida. That includes three
trips daily at least three times a week, when one crew jumps out and another jumps in. It’s like
hot-bunking aboard an overcrowded seafaring vessel…”
In October, 1983 ARC purchased its second boat, a used wooden Pocock four which was also housed in
the St. John’s boathouse.
Early in 1986 the President of the Baltimore Rowing Club contacted some members of ARC to discuss
putting together a composite entry for the Henley Royal Regatta in England. The end result was a coxed
four with two members from each club and a cox from BRC. The crew trained in Baltimore and
Annapolis and in July raced in the regatta’s Prince Phillip Cup for coxed fours. The winner of the event
was the Soviet Union’s top coxed four representing the Red Army Rowing Club.
One of the members of ARC in 1986 was a former college rower who was the manager of the Annapolis
Yacht Club. He was aware that AYC was originally founded in the nineteenth century as a rowing club.
Based on his suggestion ARC participated in the celebration of AYC’s 100 year anniversary in September
by conducting a “demonstration rowing race” past AYC’s clubhouse.
Having watched ARC crews enjoy the sport of rowing, St John’s College students organized the St John’s
College Rowing Club in September 1987.
ARC organized its first regatta in November 1989. The Annapolis Fall Rowing Festival was held on
Weems Creek. Boats launched from member Russ Deane’s house. Participants included ARC, BRC,
Chestertown, and Navy.
Former Cornell rower Lianne Ritter was a member and coach of both Annapolis and St. John’s Rowing
Clubs. In May 1990 she was killed in a traffic accident while hauling a trailer full of boats. Both clubs
felt her loss deeply. After some discussion the two clubs concluded that an informal regatta each year
involving both clubs would be a fitting way to remember Lianne and her contributions. The first Lianne
Ritter Memorial Regatta was held in the November, 1990. Lianne’s family presented a trophy to be
awarded each year to the winning club. In addition, Cornell women’s crew awards the Lianne Ritter
Memorial Award annually to the junior rower that “best exemplifies the pursuit of excellence in the sport
of rowing, scholarship, and leadership.”

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In the summer of 1991 someone suggested holding a rowing race around Wye Island on the Eastern
Shore. An ARC four tested the feasibility of rowing completely around the island. Having demonstrated
that rowing around Wye Island was possible, planning began for a regatta. ARC held the first Wye Island
Regatta in September, 1992. Based on that success, Wye Island became an annual event and ARC’s
signature regatta.
Crews and individuals from ARC participated in US Rowing’s Masters Nationals from early in the Club’s
history. In August, 2002 an ARC women’s crew win the gold medal in the C eight. An oar honoring that
crew hangs in the City Dock Café.
ARC rowed out of St. John’s College from 1983 to 2010. During that time the Club’s fleet expanded
from a single eight kept in the boathouse to a number of singles, doubles, fours, and eights on racks in the
field next to College Creek. The College’s plans called for use of the space occupied by ARC. In May,
2010 after twenty-seven years at St. John’s College ARC moved to Gingerville Marina on the South
River.
To this day, ARC continues to operate out of leased space at Guntersville Marina on the South River. The
Club has grown to a fleet of 23 with over 130 members. The Club offers rowing programs from Learn to
Row, Novice, Club, Competitive and Recreational programming as well as Strokes for Survivors and
Adaptive rowing.