A team of rowers glides atop the glistening water of Lake Woodlands as the sun sinks down farther in the sky, the only sound coming from oars slicing through the water. Five days a week, members of Parati Competitive Rowing practice on Lake Woodlands to compete at national regattas—members have won championships every year since the team’s inception.
Jan and Mike Rosman established Parati Competitive Rowing in 2012 and rowed from their home in East Shore off Lake Woodlands during the team’s first year.
“We started with no equipment, no money, no storage—nothing,” Jan said. “We had a passionate volunteer coach and a group of kids who wanted to row with him.”
In the three years since, Parati has grown to 40 rowers—students between eighth and 12th grade who train about 20 hours each week.
“Rowing is really growing in The Woodlands,” Mike said. “It’s gotten bigger every year. There’s a lot of money being spent on the sport of rowing, and it’s growing by leaps and bounds.”
Many of Parati’s rowers had never tried the sport before joining the organization, and prior experience is not necessary. Interested students are given the chance to attend practices for about a week to make sure they love rowing before they commit to the highly competitive program.
“Once they try rowing they love it,” Mike said. “It’s a great sport. Being on the water is really relaxing, and the motion of rowing is good for the kids. They’re in tip-top shape.”
Sophomore Grace Butero joined Parati nearly two years ago and said her favorite part is the competitions.
“Even if you don’t win—because winning isn’t the best part—it’s the feeling of getting to where you have 500 meters left and you don’t think you’re going to make it and you push through,” she said.
Parati competes in five competitions annually in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Austin and sends several rowers to national competitions every year. Students from Parati also go on to row in college across the country at universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Villanova, the University of San Diego and the University of Texas.
“Our parents and kids are all in,” Jan said. “We started with nothing and just have a really passionate group of people. Our kids who come to row with us stay with us.”
Aside from rowing, Parati considers itself to be a youth development team, Jan said.
“We’re about more than what happens here at the boathouse,” she said. “We do community service and social events. These kids come from all different schools, and they’re very connected.”