A red-shirted Thomas Watson, a student at Trinity High School in Manchester, and other members of the Central Crew Club prepare to launch at the New Hampshire Champions regatta on Sunday, Oct. 12.

Oct 13, 2014 2:27 PM

Central, Trinity students put aside rivalry to row for Central Crew in Charles River Regatta


MANCHESTER - When Central Crew Club dips three boats into the Charles River for a regatta this coming Sunday, they will be propelled by students from rival high schools in Manchester.

Students from Central High School, the largest public high school in Manchester, and Trinity High School, the city's only parochial high school, will row together in the Head of the Charles, the world-class regatta that takes place every year in Cambridge.

Trinity students started partnering with the Central Crew Club last spring.

Trinity athletes are identified by their red athletic wear, which stands out among the green-clad athletes and racing boats of Central Crew.

The two schools enjoy a traditional inner-city rivalry. Central-Trinity contests in basketball often decide the city - if not the state - championship. And gridiron
contests can be just as confrontational; in 2013, on-field shoving matches broke out during a Central-Trinity football game on Thanksgiving Day.

"This relationship benefits both schools," said Bill Anderson, president of the Central Crew Club, a non-profit organization that funds the crew program. "Trinity, a school of 415, gets access to Central Crew coaches and equipment, as well as the camaraderie of experienced rowers. Trinity students bring the enthusiasm and the numbers we need to keep our program strong."

Crew is a club sport in New Hampshire, meaning teams do not receive financial backing from the schools. Crew is a particularly expensive sport. An eight-rower boat can run $30,000 or more, and fees to enter a race such as the Charles reach $250 a boat.

The Central Crew Club started in 2001, thanks in part to three racing shells that the defunct Notre Dame College donated to the cause. The boats are stored at the Amoskeag Rowing Club boathouse in Hooksett, and club members practice on the Merrimack River.

This fall, 13 Trinity students joined Central Crew, creating a club of 55 athletes. They meet every week day for practice. And they gather for fund-raising
activities, such as a successful car wash in September, at the Manchester fire station adjacent to Trinity High School.

Trinity parent Tammy Williams said Central Crew helped develop confidence, independence, leadership and motivation in her daughter, sophomore McKayla Williams.

"Crew is an amazing sport, physically, mentally," Williams said, "and the crew community is amazing."


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