NORWALK — Olympic medalist Dan Walsh has come home to Norwalk to coach the next generation of champion rowers competing for bronze, silver and gold.
Walsh, a Brien McMahon High School graduate who won a bronze medal in the eight-man boat in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, has been hired as director of high performance and development at Maritime Rowing Club along the Norwalk River in East Norwalk.
For Walsh, now 37, returning to Norwalk is a homecoming in more ways than one.
He and Roman Vengerovskiy, business manager at Maritime Rowing Club, rowed together while in high school and as teammates at Northeastern University in Boston.
“I’m excited about coming home to Maritime Rowing Club,” Walsh said. “I’m looking forward to building upon the strong foundation of this family business and help create opportunity for others as it was created for me. Being back in Norwalk allows me to be around friends and family, but also give back to the river that helped me achieve my dreams.”
Walsh’s mother passed away last year, but he still has family in Norwalk. His sister teaches at Naramake Elementary School. Walsh said he and his wife — now the proud parents of an 11-month-old daughter — are looking for a home in Norwalk.
Vengerovskiy said Walsh brings to Maritime Rowing Club 15 years of experience, including 11 years on the U.S. Rowing Senior National Team, a bronze medal in the 2006 World Championships and two Olympic medals.
“Dan really brings a level of expertise and coaching that a lot of kids can relate to,” Vengerovskiy said. “We’re really trying to show kids if you work hard, your dreams can come true, and that with athletes just like Dan, you could make it to the highest level.”
Vengerovskiy said Walsh’s coaching gives rowers motivation and inspiration.
“It makes it a lot cooler to say your coach is an Olympian,” Vengerovskiy said.
Margaret A. Cameron, a Maritime Rowing Club member from Darien, began rowing in college. Walsh has been coaching her for about two weeks.
“I was really excited about it,” Cameron said. “I feel incredibly lucky. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to learn from him. He comes at it with a lot of experience and the ability to explain things in 10 different ways because he’s seen it 10 different ways.”
As director of high performance and development, Walsh and Vengerovskiy will develop training plans, fitness regimes and coach rowers. Club members will have access to world-class racing, training and rowing knowledge that are unavailable anywhere else, Vengerovskiy said.
Walsh previously worked as assistant coach at his alma mater, Northeastern University, where he helped the Huskies reach collegiate success during his tenure, including a silver medal at Eastern Sprints and a strong showing at the IRA Championships final.
He was also director of athlete engagement and sports Legacy at Boston 2024, the organizing body that attempted to bring the Olympics to Boston.
At Maritime Rowing Club, he will work under mentor, head coach and club founder Yan Vengerovskiy.
“On behalf of Maritime Rowing Club and my family, I would like to welcome Dan Walsh to the club. He fits into the club’s culture and philosophy in all aspects,” Yan Vengerovskiy said. “He has progressed in his rowing career to become one of the most influential rowers in US Rowing. Dan is a great example for a young generation of athletes and adult rowers on all levels, from middle school to Olympics, from local to international.”
By Robert Koch, The Hour