Jim Dietz Rowing Center

Ready, Row! USA #119

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This Club Spotlight features an interview with Olympic rower & coach Jim Dietz on the development of his eponymous new Rowing Center in Stonington, CT, on the Mystic River, and why he lent his name and energy to the project.

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The Stonington Community Rowing Center unveiled a new name, the Jim Dietz Rowing Center, for its soon-to-be constructed rowing facility on the Mystic River.

A six-time Olympian, three as an athlete and three as a coach, from 1967 to 1983, Dietz won 45 U.S. national championship and 37 Canadian national championship titles, medaled twice at the world championships and four times at the Pan American games. He had a similar level of success coaching collegiate and national teams. In 2010, Dietz was inducted into the USRowing Hall of Fame.

Locally, Dietz was the head coach at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy from 1985 to 1995. He founded the successful Thames River Sculls in 1987. From 1995 to 2018, Dietz coached the University of Massachusetts women’s rowing program and led the team to 16 Atlantic-10 Conference championships, 18 Dad Vail Regatta championships, two second-place finishes at the NCAA championships, and a first-place finish in the Henley Women’s Regatta in England.

“We are excited to have Jim Dietz on board,” Thornell said, “and when we complete the Rowing Center in early 2024, we will be able expand from a competitive junior team of 50-60 kids to offer a range of programs to younger and older people. “Middle-school kids will see a path to row in high school. High school rowers will see alumni (rowing in college) return for summers. It’ll be a multi-use center, with a rowing component of up to 500 members.”

“When Will Castle asked me, I had to say yes, and it’s truly a thrill to be involved in this project,” added Jim Dietz. “We’d like to see some events come back, like the ‘Bridge to Bridge’ regatta that Hart Perry used to run. The Rowing Center will also open up coaching opportunities for alumni, as younger rowers see masters rowers and know that this is a lifelong sport for them.”

Biographical information based in part on an article in The Westerly Sun


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