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By the end of our fourth year we had introduced rowing to over 1000 students from Booker, Cardinal Mooney, Pine View, Riverview, Sarasota and Venice high schools. We had held our first summer program to introduce rowing to 7th and 8th graders. Many of those who tried rowing stuck with it and went on to row in outstanding collegiate programs. Two of our rowers, Bill Plifka and Grant Earl, represented the US in the Junior World Championships in Munich, Germany. All who were a part of the program gained something from the experience that will remain a part of them for the rest of their lives.

They experienced the feeling of accomplishment that comes from hard and selfless work, striving with teammates for a common goal where individual recognition is hidden in shadows but where individual responsibility stands out in bold relief. In our first four years we have traveled to Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Charleston, Philadelphia, England, San Diego as well as all over Florida. Our crews coached by Peter de Manio have won 2 National Scholastic Rowing Association Championships, 6 Southeast Regional Varsity Championships, 8 Florida Scholastic Rowing Association Varsity Championships, 2 Head of the Charles High School Medals, 3 Head of the Schuylkill races, The San Diego Crew Classic and 2 Reading Town Championships in addition to over 100 other events.

Our rowers are now being courted by top collegiate rowing programs and we have placed athletes, many with athletic scholarships, on the rowing programs of such programs as Boston University, Florida Institute of Technology, Jacksonville University, Orange Coast, Northeastern University, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, University of Central Florida and University of Washington. We have athletes rowing on programs that do not offer athletic scholarships but who look for good rowers to fill out their rosters such as Dartmouth, Yale, Harvard, Holy Cross, University of Pennsylvania and Princeton.

This yearís high lights were winning the San Diego Crew Classic, an unheard of achievement for a Florida crew. We then traveled to England and won the Reading Town Regatta in the Senior Eights. The following week we won the first race of the Temple Challenge Cup by defeating Holy Cross University by a third of length. The next day, we led Nihon University of Japan all the way to the Stewards Enclosure only to be caught at the end and lost by one third of a length.

At the State Championships, Sarasota High won the Menís 4+ with Paul Semian, Bill Plifka, Trevor Melderis, Dan Newman and Bree McNichol. Riverview High won the Menís Varsity 8+ for the third year in a row with Tim White, Josh Guill, Justin Kiner, Ricardo Heinrich, Chris Liwski, Matt Liwski, Lacy Doolin, Rick Hinkle and James Durrant. Riverview also won the Varsity Womenís 4+ with Katie Williams, Whitney Robbins, Stefanie Sobotka, Mackenzie Mudgett and Annie Hammel.

Cardinal Mooney with Rob Woelfel and Kevin OíNeil won the Menís Pairs at the Scholastic Rowing Association Championships. It is unfortunate that upon their return to Sarasota, when Rob, Kevin and Peter attempted to present the plaque to Cardinal Mooney to hang in their gym, their athletic director (Michael Dowling, who also happened to be the football coach) refused to accept the trophy.

Historical note: Rob rowed for two years at Orange Coast and then two years at Cal Berkley. Kevin rowed four years at Princeton and won a gold medal in the Eastern Sprints.


The SSYRP crest designed by Peter de Manio and worn for the first time by the crew that went to Henley for the Temple Challenge Cup.

Kevin O'Neil and Rob Woelfel, 1995 Scholastic Rowing Association Champions in the straight pair.

Team photo at the Miami International Regatta that displays the rewards of a dominating performance, 26 entries in 22 races netting 14 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 7 bronze medals against 17 other crews. Only three boats failed to medal.

The 8+ of Lacy Doolin (cox), Paul Semian, Tim White, Kevin O'Neil, Josh Guill, Ricardo Heinrch, Paul O'Neil, James Durrant and Rob Woelfel leading Nihon at the Barrier before being caught at the Stewards Enclosure.
Team portrait of the Henley 8+ - Rob Woelfel, James Durrant, Paul O'Neil, Ricardo Heinrich, Lacy Doolin, Josh Guill, Kevin O'Neil, Tim White, Paul Semian and Coach Peter de Manio.

1994 - 1995

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