The Jacksonville Rowing Club (JRC) finds its history rooted in the tradition of two early Jacksonville rowing clubs; the Remex Rowing Club and the St. John's Few Rowing Club. Remex Rowing Club was the first rowing club organized in Jacksonville and was founded by Robert Negaard in the early seventies. Charlie Platt, who at the time was with Episcopal High School, also helped Remex get started. Remex was officially incorporated in the State of Florida in June 10, 1975. During its existence the club organized the first club regatta in Jacksonville, the Remex Regatta, that ran on the St. John's River through downtown, finishing at the Hilton Hotel. At that time, the Hilton had a Remex-inspired, rowing-themed pub in the hotel where participants could watch the race, enjoy refreshment and look over the rowing memorabilia. Although in the early eighties the Remex Rowing Club ceased to operate as a club, under the tutelage of Dr. A. Sanchez-Salazar, it did produce a number of National Champions and National Team members; Kristen Negaard in the 1977 Junior Single, Louise Novey in the 1979 Junior Single, Billie Brown in the 1979 Lightweight Single, Clay Ziegler in the 1980 Lightweight Double and Barbara Sanchez-Salazar for the 1978 Junior National Team.
In mid 1986, the predecessor organization of the JRC was created by a group of people including Pete Keegan, Brad & Kristen & Bob Negaard, Mark & Jackie Beckenback, Gail Ferguson, Brett Williams and Bob Mustafa. This club was called the St. Johns Few.
In 1987, the St. Johns Few successfully put on the Sunshine State Games out of the Jacksonville University (JU) boathouse and then sometime shortly after that, the St. Johns Few disbanded.
In the late 1987, the St. Johns Few was reorganized as the Jacksonville Rowing Club, Inc. The club operated out of JU from a lean-to built on to the side of the JU boathouse. Dues and any other income were deposited into an account at JU and expenses paid by JU for the JRC. In September of 1988, Roy Fuller joined the club and took over "treasurer" duties and opened the club's first bank account and took over the accounting functions from JU. The JRC began to stand on its own.
Somewhere around late 1988, the club purchased its original boats from Bob Negaard. The club's flotilla consisted of two Wing It singles, one Seashell, one Boston, one Smallcraft, one double Smallcraft and one Laser, for the most part, all recreational boats.
Due to the water conditions on the St. John's, in early 1989, Pete Keegan and Mark Beckenback approached Episcopal High School and with the help of Kurt Logan, State Representative, Jim Tullis and Garnett Ashby, JRC petitioned Episcopal with the idea of building a boathouse on their property on Pottsburg Creek. In mid 1989, JRC moved to the Episcopal High School property. Almost immediately after JRC left the JU property the lean-to was taken over and expanded by the new Stanton Rowing Program formed by Steve Hitchcock.
JRC was officially recorded as a corporation in the State of Florida on July 3rd, 1990. At that time, the first official Board and officers were elected. Since our inception the Presidents of the Club have been:
1987 - 7/1990 Peter Keegan
7/1990 - 7/1991 Kelly Mannel
7/1991 - 7/1996 Mark Frampton
7/1996 - 7/1997 Pete Keegan
7/1997 - 1/2001 Barbara Sanchez-Salazar
1/2001 - 1/2003 Mark Beckenbach
1/2003 - 1/2004 Beth Marten
1/2004 - present Peter King
In 1997, equipment from the defunct Remex Rowing Club was donated to JRC, unofficially merging the two clubs. In the last ten years, the JRC has become Northeast's Florida's true community rowing club. Our members range from as far as Palatka in the south, to Kings Bay in the north, and to the communities of Neptune, Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beaches. Over the years, the JRC Board has integrated representatives from all the scholastic and collegiate rowing programs in the area. Since our founding we have developed learn to row programs for youth and adults, judge/referee development programs, coxswain clinics, and a competitive masters program; conceived and ran the First Coast Headrace from 1988 until recently when it was handed over to Stanton Rowing; produced the Trout River Rowing Festival; and organized a small community youth rowing program. Also, in 2001 Missie Fiesler, a Stanton Rowing graduate rowing in JRC's summer youth program, became National Champion in the Junior Single..... 24 years after the wins of her JRC predecessors.
Today, the JRC is sculling and sweep rowing, novice and experienced, recreational and competitive, youth and adult, individuals, and most importantly, families. No matter what your rowing experience or interests, there is something for you at JRC.