Local rowers question who would steal from them

Posted at 3:15 PM, Jun 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-07 18:59:19-04

Some Omaha high school students aren't spending their summer sleeping in.

For two hours each morning, teens who are a part of the Omaha Rowing Association’s junior rowing program head out on Carter Lake. 

It may be hard work, but it is all worth it for both the rowers and their volunteer coach.

“Oh the best part of the sport is probably the camaraderie,” said Catherine Saarela-Irvin.

Coach Catherine Saarela-Irvin says she looks forward to her mornings out on the lake, but not having a motor in the launch boat makes it hard to do her job. 

“I put the life jackets in and I put the box in and I looked and I’m like something is wrong, sure enough there was no motor,” said Saarela-Irvin.

Saarela-Irvin says the Omaha Rowing Association just spent close to $2000 on a new motor in February.

“We finally saved enough to purchase a brand new one and we were so excited to use it.  The boat helped us so much,” said Saarela-Irvin.

The now motor-less launch boat was both a safety and coaching tool for Saarela-Irvin. 

“Catherine can usually help us a lot better if she is in that boat, so it's really hard,” said high school rower Rachel Davis.

Instead of riding next to the group of rowers, Saarela-Irvin has to coach and critique from the coxswain seat.

“She can't see everyone, so she can't see who is doing what errors.  It's an issue,” said high school rower Simon Saarela-Irvin.

This group of new rowers says despite the frustrating set-back, they won’t let a thief stop them from spending their summer mastering the sport. 

“Stealing is wrong, especially if you steal a motor from high school kids, it's dumb,” said high school rower Erin Goaley.

The Omaha Rowing Association operates thanks to donations and fundraising, so the group now has to try to raise the funds to replace the motor.  If you would like to donate to the association you can email them at or mail a check to Omaha Rowing Association PO BOX 640 Boys Town, NE 68010.