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Rowing Alone

Skyline crew coach Kit Bennett says this year's goals are wellness and mental health.

by Trilby MacDonald

Published in June, 2020

Missing athletics this spring has been hard on students and coaches alike. Skyline High School varsity rowing coach and Washtenaw Rowing Center junior rowing program coach Kit Bennett has been working on ways to get kids back on the water this summer, and is designing a modified version of the crew program for the fall that could go forward if school athletics programs are allowed to reopen.

Bennett recognized in early March that school athletics programs would not resume until fall at the earliest, and began planning right away. Skyline bought rowing machines for each student on the team so that they could practice at home. "It isn't about being competitive but keeping them engaged and giving them something to focus on," says Bennett.

Bennett, who is from the UK, is used to the European practice of rowing in single boats and had already acquired a number of them for the team. He is shifting practices from multi person to single person boats, known as sculls, to allow for social distancing, and reducing practice times from five to two days a week.

"If athletics are allowed in the fall, we will have this program," he says. "It won't be a competitive thing, just an athletics outlet. Mental health and wellness are the goals." Bennett says that the Ann Arbor Public Schools have not announced plans for fall athletics programs, but as both a parent and a coach he is looking forward to an official statement soon.     (end of article)

[Originally published in June, 2020.]


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