Rowing her boat

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:17 pm

While much of Alyssa Remington’s work as an economic development specialist for the Department of City Development revolves around the Milwaukee River, she has devoted just as much time outside the office to life on the water.

As a rower for the past 16 years, Remington has not only sat at the stern of the boat as a teammate guiding rhythm and pace, but she has also served as a camp counselor and stood at the head of teams as a coach and program director.

Remington began rowing in high school when the 1996 Atlanta Olympics inspired her and a friend to look into rowing opportunities near their hometown, Middleton, Wis. During her senior year of high school, she rowed for the Mendota Rowing Club in Madison. She carried her love of the sport to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she rowed women’s open weight during all four years of college and where she met her husband, John, who also rows.

“If you ask just about anyone, in rowing you either love it or you hate it,” Remington said. “You know that from the beginning. It’s a lot of work physically. It’s a lot of repetition. It’s a lot of discipline. You have to be able to dig deeply within yourself.”

Remington describes rowing as “an individual team sport,” one in which each team member must perform her best for the team to succeed as a whole.

As a teammate, she has valued the friendships she’s formed through rowing and has learned to see the beauty behind a 5:30 a.m. practice.

“In the early morning you appreciate the sound of the blade hitting the water,” Remington said. “You love that sound. It’s very calm. It’s very peaceful.”

As a coach and program director, she has led both the Mendota Rowing Club and the Milwaukee Rowing Club’s junior team.

This year, Remington served as director of the annual Milwaukee River Challenge. The Sept. 15 regatta invited collegiate and club teams to Milwaukee for competitions on the Menomonee and Milwaukee rivers.

“It’s a lifelong sport, and I think that’s what I really like about it,” Remington said. “It’s just something that becomes part of you.”

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