Elite Rowing Club — Setting Goals and Giving Back
In just its first year, Parati placed 6th in the nation. Today, after only 7 seasons, this elite club has emerged as the rowing force to be reckoned with, having qualified 43 shells (boats) in the US Rowing Youth Nationals.
In Latin, Parati means “prepared” – a word you might shout with pride when you spot a boat filled with red uniformed rowers sweeping gracefully across Lake Woodlands.
Meet The Woodlands’ residents, Jan and Michael Rosman, who founded and volunteer-run the non-profit, youth sculling and sweeping team, Parati Competitive Rowing, for which they prepare and train 60 area students from ages 13-18, 6 days a week, 49 weeks a year.
Parati competes at local, regional and national levels with Mike coaching, and Jan, handling administrative and social duties.
In just its first year, Parati placed 6th in the nation. Today, after only 7 seasons, this elite club has emerged as the rowing force to be reckoned with, having qualified 43 shells in the US Rowing Youth Nationals, and is the only team in Houston to qualify since its inception. In addition, each year, many senior rowers sign to row with major colleges.
The kids credit their success to Jan and Mike (a local author and wealth manager, respectively – and empty nesters, by the way), who are like family to them.
“Coach Mike and Jan really pushed me to set goals for myself and to not only reach them, but supersede them,” says Grace Keen, a senior at The Woodlands High School who will row for Oklahoma City University this fall. “I wouldn’t be where I am today in this sport without this world class coaching.”
Mike is a former Northwestern college wrestler who was poised for the Olympics until a major injury closed that door. He applies his fierce athletic background to training the Parati rowers.
“I was from a blue-collar neighborhood and because someone took a chance on me— helping train me in sports –I am able to help the next generation do the same,” smiles Mike. “It’s an honor to help others.”
This fall, Parati’s Woodlands High School’s James Robinson will row for Cornell College and Lauren Fettes will row for the University of San Diego. Clare Reilly and Isabelle Sterba drive from Cypress to train in The Woodlands because of the incredible opportunity Parati offers. Reilly has signed with the University of Texas and Sterba with the University of Miami.
In 2005 while visiting The Woodlands, Jan and Mike drove over the Woodlands Parkway overpass and instantly knew they wanted to live here. They purchased a lot on East Shore and built their dream home. For recreation, Mike began rowing on Lake Woodlands and soon met fellow rowing enthusiast Cathy Nash (former CEO of Woodforest National Bank). Not surprisingly, during their rowing workouts, they soon found much interest from students who would line-up on the shorelines curious about the sport of rowing.
In 2012, Mike and Jan personally financed skulls and other equipment and used their own home as a rowing boathouse. With permission from The Woodlands Township, they set out onto Lake Woodlands.
And just like that, Parati Competitive Rowing was born!
“We believe that no one can succeed alone. You need people to help you,” says Mike. “We’re happy to help and pay it forward.”
After their first year, The Township granted Parati storage space in a shipping container at North Shore Park. As the club grew bigger and garnered more attention, Nash convinced her bank colleagues a proper boathouse was needed to foster this emerging community sport. In May of 2017, The Woodforest National Bank Boathouse opened at North Shore Park for Parati and The Rowing Club of The Woodlands, another boating organization, to work out of together.
Parati insists on a high code of conduct and academic accountability. Rowers are also asked to pursue excellence not only in the sport, but in the town they live in too.
“Our kids serve the community in many ways. They staff local Woodlands events like the triathlons. They raise money for Wreaths Across America and place wreaths on veterans’ graves on Veteran’s Day. They also staff events for Unlimited Rowing, an outreach to adaptive rowers in the Houston area,” smiles Jan.
Jan and Mike have created an incredible youth athletic community with Parati. The Woodlander wishes them continued success as they prepare for the next competition season. For more information about Parati, please visit ParatiRowingTheWoodlands.com.