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The History of the Osprey Oars Next >>

Peter and Betsy de Manio rowing out of their backyard on Siesta Key introduced local adults to the sport of sculling and created the Sarasota Scullers. They conducted some seminars under the tutelage of Bill Bachman from Tampa and Ric Ricci from Connecticut College. While attending the Miami International Regatta in 1991, Mary Ann Garcia, a friend of Peter and Betsy was impressed by what she saw and asked Peter if there might not be some interest in the local high schools to start a rowing club. She pledged $4,000 to assist in the purchase of the first boat. Glenn Darling, the only youth rowing with the Sarasota Scullers adult club, learned quickly and arranged for a meeting at Riverview High to attract other youth rowers.

The meeting in May at the Science Auditorium attracted over 100 students. Some of the students started rowing immediately and on July 13, 1991, a small group of students traveled to Tampa to compete in their first regatta, the Sunshine Games, as the Sarasota Scullers because we did not yet have a Riverview High Sponsor. Josh Lang in the Novice single and Glenn Darling in the Youth single each won a gold medal. Peter added to the medal parade with a gold in the Masters’ single and a tradition of commitment and excellence was begun. As the group grew that summer, the new rowers practiced twice a day, 6:00 a.m and 6:00 p.m., six days a week, working hard to catch up and perfect the skills necessary to compete successfully for the upcoming season.

They began to race as Riverview High School. Peter created the Sarasota Scullers Youth Rowing Program as an umbrella organization in order to raise the funds to purchase the equipment as well as to permit rowing to expand into the other area schools. Eventually Sarasota County had teams from Cardinal Mooney, Pine View, Riverview, Sarasota and Venice competing in the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association Championships with excellent results.


This is the original Sarasota Scullers crest that Betsy and Peter de Manio designed at their kitchen counter in 1990.

Coach Ric Ricci presented many seminars to our adult rowers and helped our adult program to grow.

A seminar group gathered on the dock in the back yard of Peter�s and Betsy�s home on Siesta Key.
Bill Bachman presented many rowing seminars to our early Sarasota Scullers and helped us to attract new rowers as here at Turtle Beach.
Sali Wingerter discovered that learning to scull can present some serious challenges.
Michael Butler and Christine Starker (now Butler) played a huge role in the early growth of the Sarasota Scullers by letting us row out of their back yard when the young club needed a beach from which to launch.
Tim Valo provided professional rehabilitation for weary muscles.
Jan Petri, a recent rower from Georgetown University Crew, brought youth and vigor to our �old folks� rowing club.
Frank Howell, Ann Darling and Glenn Darling were very instrumental in the early growth of the interest in rowing and Frank found the property where the original Sarasota Scullers, now Osprey Oars, has been located for fourteen years.
Tony Brannon regularly plied the waters of Sarasota Bay in his recreational single.
Kim Martin, learned to row in our adult program.
Art Ferguson would frequently row his wonderful old wooden Garofalo single with us.
Ham Dixon came down from Atlanta to attend our seminars.
Even in the fog Turtle Beach provided an excellent place to introduce rowing to newcomers.
Austin Shoemaker, age 7, had his first taste of rowing sitting as a �coxswain� in Peter�s single. He went on to win a gold medal at the 2005 IRA�s rowing in a Stanford University Four.
Josh, Peter and Glenn display the gold at the 1991 Sunshine Games.
Mary Ann Garcia to whom our program owes so much for getting us off to a strong start with her initial $4,000 contribution for the first boat. Later she funded an annual $1000 scholarship to the outstanding graduating scholar athlete.

The Founding of Sarasota Scullers

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