Land O’ Lakes woman starts club to honor her father
By Kyle LoJacono
Members of the Land O’ Lakes Rowing Club enjoy the activity so much they sacrifice sleep each weekend to be the first on Saxon Lake.
“We’ve been meeting for a couple months at 7:30 (a.m.) on Saturdays or Sundays,” said Mary Jane Kranendonk, who started the club. “We have about 17 people who come out right now who are all women in their mid to late 40s from around Land O’ Lakes. Let me tell you if you’ve never been it’s quite a full-body workout.”
The club is on the water early because the winds are usually less strong at that time and there are fewer people on the lake, which creates calmer water.
“It’s also good to get out there early because we all are juggling family life and other things, so it’s the best time to get out there,” said member Darby Harvey, 50. “The boat can get really tippy, so if we don’t get out there before other boats it’s hard to get going.
“Thank goodness I haven’t been in the boat when it has flipped,” Harvey said jokingly. “I think that has only happened once when they were trying to bring it in.”
The club usually spends about an hour and a half rowing. After that, the traffic on the water increases.
Kranendonk, 47, learned how to lead a rowing team from the Tampa Rowing Club and got her U.S. Rowing coaching card from Stetson University. She is also a physical education teacher at Denham Oaks Elementary School in Pasco Lutz.
“I wanted to start the club in honor of my dad (Art Trubiano) who passed away a few years ago,” Kranendonk said. “He was on the crew team at the University of Tampa and coached there too. Our boat is named after him, 4 Truby.”
The 4 in the boat’s name corresponds to the number of rowers that fit into the boat and Truby was his nickname. A fifth person in the boat steers.
Another group member is Mary Cooley, 45, who is a physical therapist for all levels of public schools in east Pasco County.
“When we are setting things up to get the boat in the water you can enjoy the scenery a little bit, but once we get out there we have to concentrate on each stroke,” Cooley said. “We really have to focus and stop talking, but it is still very peaceful out there at that time of day.”
All three women said the appeal originally was because rowing is a total body workout, especially the way they do it.
“The workout is really more about using your core and whole body because we sweep so it’s like doing little crunches while using your legs and upper body,” Harvey said. “…Sweeping is when the seats move too so you can’t just use your arms and it forces you to be in good rhythm with your own body and as a team.”
Rowing is also a low impact exercise, which is good for the women who sometimes have joint pain.
While the team is made up of middle-aged women, their competitive drive still burns within them. Harvey remembered a recent morning when that passion got the better of them.
“We have all these strong spirited women that got a little too into (rowing) a couple weeks ago,” Harvey said. “Mary Jane’s goal is to eventually form a team to enter into the Mayor’s Cup in Tampa and she told us to pretend we were in a race. We all got going a little too fast and got off rhythm and went nowhere fast.
“You’re linked out there and if you don’t do everything in sync things just get tippy and you don’t go anywhere fast,” Harvey continued.
The Mayor’s Cup is a big race each year where teams from around the nation come to compete. While Kranendonk would like to enter the event in 2011, she also wants to spread rowing to Pasco’s high schools.
“I was already given permission to start a club team at Land O’ Lakes High School and hopefully I’ll eventually have the time to get that started,” Kranendonk said. “I want to see more people and young people develop a love for rowing too.”
As a physical therapist in the school system, Cooley sees the benefits to both students and the everyday person.
“It’s awesome for people of all ages and the team aspect would be great for the kids,” Cooley said.
“I think it’s kind of cool to add things to life to make it more interesting,” Colley continued. “We aren’t all people who did this in school or anything. We’re just a bunch of people who get together for a good workout and for each other’s company.”