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Looking To Turn Oar Into Gold, Crew Teams Ply Lake Las Vegas

<p>The Lake Las Vegas Rowing Club has brought collegiate and amateur crew teams to the man-made Lake in Henderson.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
Courtesy: Lake Las Vegas Rowing Club

The Lake Las Vegas Rowing Club has brought collegiate and amateur crew teams to the man-made Lake in Henderson.


The new Nevada State College crew team and a community rowing club have taken to the waters of Lake Las Vegas.

The Nevada State Scorpions squad kicked off its inaugural season last month with a multi-team meet that brought some of the nation’s top rowers to the man-made lake in Henderson.

Jim Andersen, who has coached future Olympians during a career in competitive rowing, was brought to Southern Nevada to coach the Nevada State rowing team, which is college’s first sports team.

He also heads the all-ages Lake Las Vegas Rowing Club, which he said he hopes will foster interest in the sport among high schoolers. The club is six months old and has 35 members.

“When I saw Lake Las Vegas, I jumped at a chance to start a rowing program there,” he told KNPR's State of Nevada. “I’ve been around the sport a long time, it’s possible the best lake I’ve seen for rowing -ever.”

Anderson said the lake is a perfect length and it can fit an Olympic-sized course, plus the lake management has been supportive of his efforts. 

Andersen previously coached at Marin Rowing in Larkspur, Calif. and Riversport in Oklahoma City.

“We’re fortunate to have someone with Jim’s experience to get our rowing program started,” said Nevada State College President Bart Patterson.

Anderson said rowing is a NCAA women's sport, which means many schools provide scholarships to students who row. That is part of the reason A.J. Mesalic is happy that his two daughters have taken an interest in the sport. But the main reason he's pleased with their choice is the team building required by rowing.

“Rowing always seemed to me to be appealing because of the teamwork aspect," Mesalic said, "It teaches a lot about working with others to have a perfectly balanced boat and everybody working in unison. You have to keep your egos on shore and keep your mind on the boat.”

In fact, Mesalic has enjoyed it so much he is trying it out himself.  

Jim Andersen, coach, Nevada State crew team and heads rowing club; A.J. Mesalic, he and his daughters are members of the Lake Las Vegas Rowing Club

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Nikole Robinson Carroll is KNPR's Morning Edition host. You can hear her every morning from 5am until 10am on News 889. She also produces segments for KNPR's State of Nevada.
With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.