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NavyLights74-78 Reunion IV

Navy Lightweight Crew Reunion
In September Navy lightweight rowers from the Classes of 1974 – 1978 met for their fourth reunion!

(L-R): Navy Head Lightweight Crew Coach Steve Perry, Coach Jon Eric VanAmringe Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

Eighteen lightweight crew alumni gathered together for a weekend of camaraderie and good cheer to honor their former coach, Jon VanAmringe, with the christening of JON ERIC VAN AMRINGE 2 – the second boat acquired for Navy lightweight crew with funds from an endowment established by Coach VanAmringe’s rowers. Special guests included former Navy crew coach Carl Ullrich and his lovely wife Becky; Jon’s former Yale lightweight crew coach Jimmy Joy; renowned boat designer Graeme King and Brendan Crotty from King Racing; and Darrow Kirkpatrick ’57 representing the first Navy lightweight rowers of the modern era.

When Two or Three Shall Meet
The reunion kicked-off with a Friday evening reception in the King Room of the newly renovated Hubbard Hall. Joined by many of their spouses and ten of Jon’s crewmates from Yale University, the rowers were treated to a video created by Luke Memminger ’76 as a special tribute to Coach VanAmringe and his crews, which led to an evening of old tales being retold that like a good wine just seem to keep getting better and better with age. And, current coaches Steve Perry, Joe Federici, Tom Callender ’90, and John Flynn and Director of Rowing Rob Friedrich and his wife Craig honored the group with their sincere thanks for alumni support of Navy Crew.

Rig for Battle Dress (L-R): Keith Weaver '76, Tom Cook '76 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

(L-R): Derek Offer '74, Mike Wahl '74 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

(L-R): Keith Weaver '76, Tom Cook '76, Luke Memminger '76 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

(L-R): Steve Hall '75, Keith Weaver '76 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

(L-R): Steve Hall '75, Phil Schlaepfer '77 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

Mother Hubbard
What a fantastic rowing facility Navy Crew has built! Alumni will be greatly impressed with the complete redesign that has transformed the venerable boathouse in their memories into a world class rowing facility worthy of championship crews. Particularly noteworthy is the new rowing tank with a water speed at six meters per second that is fastest in the country and allows rowers to not only get aerobic rowing workouts but also get specific coaching on rowing technique that is too often overlooked.

On Saturday morning with bagpipes signaling the commencement of christening ceremonies Navy Head Lightweight Crew Coach Steve Perry and Senior Associate Director of Athletics Dave Davis ’67 warmly welcomed the alumni oars, their spouses, and guests on their return to Severn’s shores. Speaking on behalf of Coach VanAmringe’s crews, Keith Weaver ’76 stressed to Navy’s current lightweight rowers the strength of the bonds of friendship they are forming, which they in turn will be talking with Navy crews about forty years from now. Coach VanAmringe then began the christening with finish line water from twenty-eight courses being poured over the new boat’s bow. Fittingly, the last group to pour water over the bow was Navy’s firsties, who then put the boat in the water and rowed it for the first time.

  Classes of 1974 - 1978 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

And, as he did in 2006 that stalwart bowman, Tom Weil (Yale 1970), braved creepy-crawlies and unknown sediments to partake of one long drink from the christening cup once again!

  L-R: Keith Weaver '76, Tom Weil, Gary Harrell '76 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

We Were Rowers Once – and Still?
Following the christening eleven alumni took out an eight and with spouses, coaches, and guests comfortably watching from coaches’ launches these intrepid oars began “seat racing” and “boat changing” so all eleven could sweep an oar once more on College Creek. Coxswain Krystyna Nowakowski ‘14 kept the oars in line, and all eleven we’re able to disembark without aid upon returning to the dock!

Bow-Derek Offer '74; 2-Bob Blase '75; 3-Phil Schlaepfer '77; 4-Lee Yarberry '78; 5-Keith Weaver '76; 6-Gary Harrell '76; 7-Steve Hall '75; Stroke-Tom Cook '76; Cox-Krystyna Nowakowski '14 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

Bow-Derek Offer '74; 2-Bob Blase '75; 3-Phil Schlaepfer '77 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

3-Phil Schlaepfer '77; 4-Lee Yarberry '78; 5-Keith Weaver '76; 6-Gary Harrell '76 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

6-Gary Harrell '76; 7-Steve Hall '75; Stroke-Tom Cook '76 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

5-Keith Weaver '76; 6-Gary Harrell '76; 7-Steve Hall '75; Stroke-Tom Cook '76; Cox-Krystyna Nowakowski '14 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

Bow-Luke Memminger '76; 2-Steve Nimitz '76; 3-Phil Schlaepfer '77; 4-Joel Bohlmann '78 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

Bow-Luke Memminger '76; 2-Steve Nimitz '76; 3-Phil Schlaepfer '77; 4-Joel Bohlmann '78; 5-Keith Weaver '76; 6-Gary Harrell '76; 7-Steve Hall '75; Stroke-Tom Cook '76; Cox-Krystyna Nowakowski '14 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

The Intrepid (L-R): Bob Blase '75, Luke Memminger '76, Joel Bohlmann '78, Lee Yarberry '78, Steve Nimitz '76, Keith Weaver '76, Krystyna Nowakowski '14, Derek Offer '74, Steve Hall '75, Gary Harrell '76, Tom Cook '76, Phil Schlaepfer '77, Alex Cobble '76 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

Class of '76 (L-R): Luke Memminger, Gary Harrell, Tom Cook, Keith Weaver, Alex Cobble, Steve Nimitz Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

(L-R): Phil Schlaepfer '77, Luke Memminger '76, Gary Harrell '76, Tom Cook '76, Keith Weaver '76, Alex Cobble '76, Steve Nimitz '76, Steve Hall '75 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

All About Rowing
The afternoon was spent talking all about rowing. Coach Jimmy Joy presented a mini-tutorial on the efficiency of movement with examples of the good – but also the bad and the ugly that are too often seen in boats today due possibly to the habits rowers adopt from countless hours of ergometer rowing. A coaches’ panel moderated by Jon VanAmringe with panelists Carl Ullrich, Jimmy Joy, Dave Vogel [former Yale rowing coach], Rob Friedrich, and Steve Perry delved into the qualitative and quantitative aspects of rowing past and present – one thing hasn’t changed and that’s the importance of time on the water. And, the day was capped with a fascinating talk by boat designer and maker Graeme King: “The art of building wooden shells makes them beautiful while the science makes them fast.” A number of Navy’s oarsmen took this opportunity to have their white King Racing ball caps autographed by King himself.

(L-R): Coach Carl Ullrich, Becky Ullrich, Lesli Schlaepfer, Phil Schlaepfer '77 Photo Courtesy of Karen Cook

Giving Back to Navy Crew
Navy lightweight oars from the classes that Jon VanAmringe coached have reunited triennially since 2003. Shortly before the purchase of a new racing shell. Not only did the rowers support Rob’s need – they contributed enough to endow a boat in perpetuity, which was to be named in honor of their coach.

Today, in addition to several other endowed boats, the Navy Crew Excellence Fund ensures that Navy’s crews will never be wanting for racing shells, but more importantly these funding sources provide the Director of Rowing with spending options he would not otherwise have the opportunity to consider for heavyweight, lightweight, and women’s rowing.

Reuniting with those whom you rowed for so many endless hours and miles is a reward in itself, but this reconnection can also help mobilize and organize support for a program that was such a meaningful part of your life if that support is ever needed. And, meeting current rowers establishes a connection between present and past from which a rowing legacy is created and nurtured for future crews to expand.

The rowers of NavyLights74-78 will tell you without hesitation that waiting thirty years to reunite was far too much time lost. If you are not yet gathering together with your crewmates then our advice is to make that happen now.


Finish-Line Water Course Location Event / School
Lake Carnegie Princeton, New Jersey Princeton Crew

Navy v. Princeton

Navy v. Yale

Princeton Chase

Belly of the Carnegie
Cooper River Camden County Park, New Jersey IRA National Championships
Connecticut River Hanover, New Hampshire Dartmouth Crew
Flanders Bay East Sullivan, Maine Flanders Bay Sailing
Frenchman Bay Lamoine/Mount Desert Island, Maine Frenchman Bay Sailing
Green Lake Seattle, Washington Green Lake Crew

Head of the Lake
Harlem River Spuyten Duyvil, Bronx, New York Columbia Crew
Hudson River Poughkeepsie, New York Marist Crew
Lake Natoma (Gold River) Rancho Cordova, California Pac-12 Rowing Championships

IRA National Championships
Lake Quinsigamond Worcester, Massachusetts EARC Sprints Championships
Montlake Cut Seattle, Washington Washington Crew
New Haven Harbor New Haven, Connecticut Yale Crew
Oakland Estuary Oakland, California California Crew
Olympic Training Center Chula Vista, California Olympic Rowing Course
Orchard Beach Lagoon Bronx, New York Columbia Crew

Navy v. Columbia
Overpeck Creek Bergen County, New Jersey Columbia Crew
San Francisco Bay San Francisco, California America's Cup Regatta
Schuylkill River Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Penn Crew

Navy v. Penn

Navy Day Regatta

Head of the Schuylkill
Seneca Lake Geneva, New York Hobart and William Smith Crew
Charles River Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts Harvard Crew

Navy v. Harvard

Head of the Charles
Potomac River Washington, DC Georgetown Crew

Navy v. Georgetown
Severn River Annapolis, Maryland Navy Crew
Thames River Gales Ferry, Connecticut Yale-Harvard Regatta
Thames River Henley-on-Thames, England Henley Royal Regatta
Housatonic River Derby, Connecticut Yale Crew
Lake Erie Erie, Pennsylvania Mercyhurst College Crew

RELTNY Rent-a-Crew
Cayuga Lake Ithaca, New York Ithaca College Crew

Cornell Crew
San Diego Bay San Diego, California San Diego Crew Classic


Group Name Class
NavyFirstLights J. Darrow Kirkpatrick 1957
NavyLights74-78 Coach Jon VanAmringe Yale 1970
NavyLights74-78 Bob and Pam Blase 1975
Joel and Wendy Bohlmann 1978
Alex Cobble 1976
Tom and Karen Cook 1976
Bill and Chris Daley 1975
Steve Hall 1975
Gary and Sandy Harrell 1976
Gary and Beth Lundeen 1975
Luke and Anna Belle Memminger 1976
Steve and Gail Nimitz 1976
Derek Offer 1974
Phil and Lesli Schlaepfer 1977
Mike and Marilyn Wahl 1974
Keith and Susan Weaver 1976
Lee and Lita Yarberry 1978
NavyLights93 Kit Vallonrat 1993
Navy Lightweight Crew Coaches Steve and Amanda Perry

Head Lightweight Crew

Rutgers 2001
Tom Callender

Assistant Lightweight Crew Coach
Joe Federici

Plebe Lightweight Crew Coach
Rutgers 2005
Navy Heavyweight Crew Coaches Rob and Craig Friedrich

Head Heavyweight Crew

Rutgers 1997
John Flynn

Assistant Heavyweight Crew Coach
Cornell 1994
Friends of Navy Crew Brendan Crotty

King Racing Shells
University of Buffalo SUNY
Len DiFrancisco Hobart 1968
Dick Ewing Yale 1974
Gary Greco
Joan Marie Haas Annapolis Rowing Club
Jimmy Joy University of Western Ontario 1960

Yale Head Lightweight Crew Coach

1970 - 1972
Graeme King

King Racing Shells
James Scheider
Dan and Kathy Shaker Annapolis Rowing Club
Carl and Becky Ullrich

Navy Head Heavyweight Crew Coach

1968 - 1974
Cornell 1950
Dave Vogel

Yale Head Lightweight Crew Coach

1972 - 1989
Yale 1971
Tom Weil Yale 1970
Jay Williams Yale 1968
Art Wilmarth Yale 1972