Edwardsburg’s Getz rowing at World Championships in South Korea
Josh Getz played baseball and soccer for four years at Edwardsburg High School before graduating in 2008.
Getz’s athletic career took a much different path when he arrived at the University of Michigan.
“I tried out for the club baseball team at Michigan and didn’t make the team,” said Getz, who majored in mechnical engineering and finished with a 3.5 G.P.A in college. “Rowing was my only athletic option left.”
Getz, who had never rowed before in his life, became part of a very successful club rowing team for four years.
“The rowing club at Michigan is one of the best in the country,” Getz said. “We never lost in the Club National Championships.”
Most Big 10 schools and Notre Dame have rowing as a club sport.
Last summer, Getz was part of a rowing team that raced in England at the Royal Henley Regatta. That event marked the first time that Getz had traveled out of the country.
Getz will get his second chance to be out of the United States when he competes in the Rowing World Championships from Aug. 25 to Sept. 2 in Chungiu, South Korea.
A record 73 nations have entered with 948 athletes in 384 boats. The United States will have 27 crews and an 87-person roster. Getz will represent the U.S. in the Lightweight Men’s Eight Crew competition. The average weight of a rower in that boat can’t be more than 155 pounds.
Getz’s crew will be going up against rowers from Australia and Italy.
“It should be pretty good competition,” Getz said. “Australia and Italy are both pretty good. I wouldn’t say we’re the favorite. I would say if we could beat one of those crews we’d walk away pretty happy. If we beat both, it would be a great day for us. A time of five minutes and 40 seconds is a good time.”
To qualify for the World Championships, you first had to compete in the trials earlier in the summer at Lake Mercer in Princeton, N.J.
“We were the only lightweight crew so we got an automatic bid (to the World Championships),” Getz said.
Most of Getz’s teammates are from the East Coast. Getz’s crew trained for the World Championships in Boston.
“Rowing is huge in Boston,” Getz said.
Paying for the World Championships is the biggest challenge for Getz’s crew. It costs $36,000 to $40,000 to row in the prestigious event.
Renting a boat, shipping the oars, hotel accomodations and air flight are part of the costs.
“The United States Rowing Governing Body funds Olympic boat races,” Getz said. “But the Lightweight Eight is not in the Olympics so it is not funded by the U.S. Rowing Governing Body. We’ve had a lot of fundraisers to help earn money. We’re a third of the way to covering the costs.”
A fundraising website has been established (http://tinyurl.com/USALMA). Donations can be made up until Sept. 10.
Getz has a lofty goal for his rowing future.
“I want to make the Lightweight Four for the Olympics,” Getz said. “The four best rowers in the country make up that crew.”
Training for that takes place in Oklahoma City.