Concord Crew is on the rise and hopes to continue its success with an older division 

  • Members of Concord Crew's new Master's Division row along the Merrimack River. Courtesy

  • Members of Concord Crew’s new Master’s Division row along the Merrimack River. Courtesy

  • Concord Crew boys get ready to put their boat the Merrimack River in April 2022, which was their first time on the water for the season. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor file

  • Concord Crew head coach Steve Garside heads out from the boathouse to fix one of the floatation devices on the Merrimack River on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER

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    Concord Crew varsity girls rowers Emma Vargas and Adora Ballam in "The Printzla" last Saturday morning around 6:50 a.m. as the mist comes off of the Merrimack River. Concord Crew has a Regatta schedule for this weekend’s Weekend on the Water event this Sunday morning. For more information, check concordwow.org MARK TIERNEY

Monitor columnist
Published: 8/12/2022 5:47:16 PM

The Concord Crew team – traditionally consisting of high school-aged rowers who compete in local and national events – now includes a fledgling program for adults 27 and older.

And if her background is any indication, Concord Crew has hired the right person to lift its Master’s Division’s profile and introduce real competition by next year.

Susan Tuvell grew up in Reading, Mass., and rowed in high school. Then she rowed at William Smith College in New York State, reaching her full potential and earning All-America status seven years ago.

Her college coach at the time, Sandra Chu, had high praise for Tuvell after her All-America status was announced in 2015.

“Over the course of the racing season,” Chu said then, “she was always one step ahead of her crew and their competition, anticipating the correct strategy for the course and the conditions, the precise motivational push we needed, as well as the courage to push the team harder and demand more.”

The Master’s Division’s spring season is still going, and registration remains open for the fall schedule. Concord now offers a category for rowers who are well passed their high school days, something not available at programs across the state.

This one, Tuvell said, is open to experienced rowers, green rowers, and everything in between.

“Some signed up who have never rowed,” Tuvell said. “Maybe they wanted to try it because they had a child or a friend in the program. Some rowed in college and now they’re middle-aged and they want a refresher course because they haven’t done it in 35 years.”

Tuvell is working with varsity crew coach Steve Garside, who has coached in the program for seven years and has doubled as the director for the past four.

Garside is the coach who steadied the program in recent years. Concord Crew actually began taking shape 20 years ago, when it shared the Amoskeag Rowing Club’s facilities to store equipment, practice and race, giving it access to the Merrimack River in Hooksett and Pembroke.

Concord Crew is nonprofit, and since it’s not affiliated with the Concord School District, raised its own funds with support from the Whittemore family and Friends of Concord Crew, a booster club that has helped establish the sport here.

Once funding was secured, the time was right to move and grow, Garside said.

“It’s a nonprofit, so we pull people in from all over,” Garside said. “As we grew, they looked for more space and settled into the area behind Everett, and now we have our own building. It simply became too cramped in Hooksett with more teams coming in.”

Since then, Concord’s meat and potatoes have been local racing, held here and in places like Hanover on the Connecticut River and Lawrence Mass., on the Merrimack.

Concord has also gotten a taste of the big time. It competes in a prestigious race in Lowell, Mass., each fall, and has gained national recognition by rowing at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Mass. That’s scheduled for October.

They also competed in the Nationals in Sarasota, Fla., the past two years, taking seventh and 25th place two years ago, and finishing third and receiving a Bronze Medal this year.

“This was a huge deal, massive,” Garside said. “In my eyes, even the kids who got seventh and 25th, that’s still massive.”

And with some momentum and an All-America coach pushing the buttons, Concord Crew staffers believe that their new Master’s Division athletes can improve and carve out their own niche of success.

The Master’s Division offers a category for recreational rowers and another for those who prefer a little more intensity.

And once the fall season comes and goes, Tuvell hopes bigger things lay on the horizon.

“Because it’s a new program, we’re staying local right now,” Tuvell said. “And as it grows, we hope to compete in the Head of the Charles next year. Also, maybe the Master’s Nationals as well.”

For more information on the youth or masters rowing programs or to sign up, go to www.concordcrew.org.


Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.



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