TopRowNYC Masters racing as “The Swing Set”

TopRowNYC Masters racing as “The Swing Set”

New York City, despite its size, hustle and bustle and proximity to multiple waterways, is the site of just one rowing regatta. We are less than a week from this year’s Harlem River Classic, a fundraising regatta in support of Row New York — a NYC-based nonprofit organization that combines rowing and academic support to help middle and high school students attending some of our city’s most under-resourced schools realize their full potential.  
TopRow NYC, is partnered with Row New York. We use their boathouse and equipment and thanks to this collaboration we Masters can practice the sport we love — and marvel at a lot of gorgeous sunrises and sunsets! At our Peter Jay Sharp boathouse on the Harlem River, the teens come and go to and from practice six days a week. Their commitment is truly impressive. The returns are even more so. Row New York changes their lives. They combine the sport of rowing with academic support and college enrichment services to help kids living in under-resourced communities succeed in high school, graduate and get into college — many on athletic or academic scholarship.  
In 2018, 100% of Row New York seniors graduated high school, and 99% matriculated to college.  These impressive statistics are astonishing compared with the significantly lower graduation rate for far too many of New York City’s high school students. The majority of the youth served would not have access to this sport or these services without Row New York, and year after year, these remarkable student-athletes grow physically, academically, and emotionally.
Why should you donate?  Your donation will help Row New York pay for meals for during academic sessions, hire tutors, purchase MetroCards so kids can make it to practice and tutoring, maintain rowing equipment, travel to races, go on prospective college visits, get SAT prep, receive college and career guidance, and much, much more.  
TopRowNYC Masters racing as “The Swing Set” have already raised thousands of dollars for Row New York, and with Saturday’s deadline fast approaching are closing in on raising at least $10,000. If we succeed we could well get the privilege of naming one of Row New York’s boats. Since none of us are the Winklevoss twins (and yes, RNY has a boat named The Winklevoss) this would be quite an honor and achievement!
How can you help?  Visit The Swing Set’s Crowdrise page:
and make a donation by this Saturday, May 18th to help TopRow NYC help Row New York! (Be sure to watch the wonderful short video about Row New York!) When donating, you will be prompted to pick a team member to support. It doesn’t matter who you select, every penny will go to Row New York and the great work they do.
Learn more about Row New York by visiting
Masters of the Jingle Mingle

Masters of the Jingle Mingle

On a crisp, cold Saturday, December 8, scores of rowers – from kids who could still show their ages with just their fingers to a couple of septuagenarians – all gathered in the airy, erg-filled gym at DREAM Charter School in East Harlem. Among the throng were TopRow and Former Row New York Masters rowers Carl Taeusch, myself (Jessica Sabat), and our team organizer, Michael Kohlhaas. After anticipating a team of six, we three comprised the remaining tiny trio, self-named “We Master Faster”, who were able to make it on the day for Row New York’s 90 minute fundraising ergathon: The Jingle Mingle.

One of the great points of pride when I began rowing with Row New York in 2016, was joining this amazing organization that stroke by stroke changes the lives of its participants, physically, mentally, socially, academically. Carl, Michael and I feel strongly about supporting its mission. Each Row New York rower in every program does the sport’s hard work, giving it their all, but each will also tell you that they get so much more in return. 

Leading up to the event, our team had successfully raised over $1000 to benefit Row New York’s athletic and academic programming for teens, as well as their adaptive and veterans rowing programs, which felt great. But what was less fantastic was the prospect of relay rowing the next hour and a half with just the three of us. Other teams had as many as eight or more rowers.  A quick look around proved to us we were by far the smallest of the 27 teams. Committed to seeing it through, strategy was going to be key.

Michael explains,  “During the race we opted for slightly longer pieces at steady state, and fewer changeovers than some other teams.” We hoped that this would allow each of us to not only bring our maximum sustainable power to each piece but also give us enough rest between segments that we’d jump back in refreshed and ready to crank out the most meters possible. 

The horn sounded and we were off and rowing. It was quickly proven that youth isn’t everything.  Shockingly, we found ourselves immediately in 7th place. Having staked our turf, we dug in hard and stubbornly refused to yield until the very end when we were edged into 8th by a team that pulled ahead by just 29 meters. “Our strategy paid off and we were surprised that we managed to keep up as well as we did with the larger teams” Michael rightfully observed. “Another Jingle Mingle, another great experience!”

Carl, a five-time Jingle Mingle veteran, summed it up this way, “I was a little disappointed only three of us could make it, but that added to the drama. Daunted at first by the thought of competing for 90 minutes against bigger (and much younger) teams, in context, it was really little more than a head race (for each one of us), but with rest stops along the way!”  He added that he was “motivated by the opportunity to get together with the masters for a good row and a cause. And at the end, the satisfaction of a challenge well met!”

P.S. Congratulations to Engine Room, our TopRow winter training partners, and their team led by Michael and Chris Ives. Throughout the 90 minutes they were in a tight battle for 1st, fending off teams that were nipping at their heels. But their 8 rowers were unflagging and finished in first place!

Please feel free to support Row New York

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