When Mike Teti, a three-time Olympic rower and current head coach of the men’s Olympic team, was considering moving the team from San Diego to West Windsor’s Lake Mercer and Princeton University’s Lake Carnegie over a decade ago, his primary rationale was the uncommon enthusiasm and support the Princeton community would provide.
The result has been a synergistic relationship between the community and the team.
“We wouldn’t be able to survive without them,” says Mr. Teti, who has also coached the Princeton University team. “USRowing is a volunteer organization, so one of the reasons we came here – it wasn’t just the facilities, it was also the community. Our athletes have jobs here; a lot of families house our athletes; and we have guys like Tim Hosea who volunteers his time.”
A former rower at Harvard, Dr. Hosea is an orthopedic surgeon in Princeton who now volunteers as the chairman of sports medicine for USRowing. “We know these guys don’t have two nickels to rub together, so we try to help them out as best we can,” he says. “The community has been extraordinarily generous.” Even local pizza joints offer athletes gratis dinners a few times a week, he says.
Such generosity is crucial for a sport like rowing, which requires just as many grueling hours of training as the A-list sports, but without the promise of fame, fortune, and media adulation for those who find success.