Aileen McNamara began rowing at West Side as a 15-year-old student at Nardin; now she's the club president.
Inside the West Side Rowing Club's Norman "Doc" Schaab boathouse, there is a room that features pictures of all the club's presidents since the organization was founded in 1912. Aileen McNamara
will be the first woman to have her
picture up on that wall. McNamara
began rowing at West Side as a 15-year-old student at Nardin
and was part of West Side's first women's crew to win a Canadian Henley championship.She has remained an active coach and board member during her career as an attorney, and was elected the club's first female president on Nov. 4.Her
two-year term will begin in January.
"It's a huge honor.I look at that wall and see guys that are legends, guys I've watched work like Ed Corr, Jim Schaab and Bill Cotter," said McNamara, 39, who lives in North Buffalo and works as an attorney with Mental Hygiene Legal Service.
...McNamara rowed at the University of Pennsylvania, and soon after earning her law degree at the University at Buffalo, she returned to West Side as a coach in the early 1990s.She has been a member of West Side's board of directors for the last decade, including holding the position of secretary under the last two presidents. "It is significant in the fact that Aileen is the first woman president, but Aileen is more than qualified," said Ed Corr, the outgoing president.
"The sport has changed exponentially even in the last seven years," said McNamara
will be in charge of an organization that handles about 500 people a day from February to May, with a few hundred more involved in summer programs as well as 50 coaches.She
will take office as the fund-raising begins for the Frank Lloyd Wright Boathouse construction, while her
top goal is trying to improve the summer senior (college-age) rowing program.West Side
produces many top collegiate rowers, but those rowers often compete for other clubs during the summer instead of coming home to West Side
"I want to carry on the tradition down there, and in doing so refocus a little bit more on crews being able to compete at a higher level, particularly the senior program," McNamara