A dedicated, energetic coaching staff guides OARS rowers from novice to excellence in all age groups.
Kirsten Anderson – Director of Rowing / Girls Head Coach
Kirsten Anderson grew up right here in the Dr. Phillips area & her love for anything having to do with water led her to the sport of rowing. She attended Dr. Phillips High School and captained the first crew team at DP. Kirsten continued rowing at the Florida Institute of Technology and was a four-year varsity scholarship member of Florida Tech Crew.
During her 19 years as Head Women’s Coach at OARS, Kirsten’s rowers at OARS have earned top medals in regattas including the Head of the Chattahoochee, Orlando City Championships, FSRA Championships, Southeast Youth Championships, Scholastic National Championship, and the USRowing Youth National Championships. Kirsten’s rowers have graduated high school and continued to row at top universities across the country, including schools such as Stanford University, University of Washington, NOVA University, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee, University of North Carolina, University of Central Florida, University of Southern California, Clemson University, Boston University, Notre Dame University, and Princeton University. Kirsten strives to instill a sense of tradition & teamwork with all of her athletes. She enjoys coaching individual athletes to push themselves further than they they believe they can go. Ultimately combining their individual gains to make a strong team.
In addition to coaching, Kirsten’s career as a teacher at Windermere Preparatory School allows her to spend as much time as possible on the water with OARS. Kirsten’s dog, Sammy (aka Uncle Sam), is her child and can frequently be seen at the boathouse and in her launch.
Nura Hussein – Girls Assistant Coach
Nura Hussein is entering her first season with OARS. She graduated from The University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Masters in Sports Management. After two years competing in college track and field Nura found rowing and fell in love with the sport. After finishing her collegiate career she began volunteer coaching with the University of Alabama women’s rowing program. She also interned in the strength and conditioning department. Nura has a huge passion for health, fitness, and sports and loves spending time outdoors. She is very excited to make Orlando her new home and begin working with the program.
Emily Congdon – Mens Head Coach
Coach Emily “Mole” Congdon first discovered the sport of rowing at the University of Florida where she rowed all four years of her college career. Highlights of her time with Florida Crew include winning gold as a freshman in the Women’s Novice 8+ at FIRA, competing as a sophomore in the V8+ at the Head of the Charles, taking gold in the Women’s Club 8+ at Hooch in 2008 and getting bronze in the Women’s JV4+ at FIRA in 2009 and 2010. Beyond her competitive accomplishments, Emily was also a very active member of Florida Crew’s executive board, serving as Vice President of Administration for 2 years, and was a Sports Club Councilmember with UF’s Department of Recreation. After graduating with a B.A. in political science, Emily moved to Orlando to pursue a career in coaching. She spent three years working as the assistant coach at Lake Brantley Rowing Association helping to move the girls’ program to recent success including taking home the girls’ Scholastic Championship trophy in 2012. This year, Emily is looking forward to working alongside new and old colleagues and continuing the winning tradition at OARS.
Becky Watt – Mens Assistant Coach
Alexander Willett – Mens Assistant Coach
Coach Alec began rowing in 2010 as a member of Winter Park Crew. During his four years of rowing Alec competed for multiple FSRA Scholastic championships and made finals at SRAA’s and the Stotesbury Cup Regatta his Junior and Senior years with Winter Park. Following his high school graduation, he began pursuing a degree in political science from the University of Central Florida. Since graduating from Winter Park he has held both the Assistant and Head Coach positions for Winter Park’s middle school rowing program as well as a position at Central Florida Rowing where he saw his Varsity 8 win the FIRA championship for the first time in several decades during the 2016 season. Coach Alec is beyond excited to join the OARS family and to contribute to the winning tradition that OARS represents.
Anthony Smith – Middle School Coach
Anthony first started rowing for OARS in 2013 as a sophomore at West Orange High school, and it didn’t take long for him to love the sport. During his novice year, he was inspired by the captains to strive for the best on the team. He set a goal to become a captain by his senior year. With three years of rowing experience and determination, in the 2015-16 year was chosen to be one of the captains of the men’s team. He also competed at Nationals in 2016 in the Varsity8+; helping the team achieve the goal of getting two 8’s to Nationals. He currently attends Valencia College, pursuing an AA degree in business administration. He is very excited to coach and inspire the Middle School team to a successful year.
Jennifer Hooke – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Jennifer Hooke is the owner of Innerstrength Sport and Wellness and is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning specialist. In 2007 she graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. At UF she was introduced to rowing and became the women’s varsity captain. Jenn quickly fell in love with the sport and this quote is exactly why – “The athlete’s anaerobic threshold is the point at which the body’s muscles have exhausted their oxygen store and start burning other fuel. For regular folks, reaching that threshold is quitting time [because] anaerobic work is 19 times harder than aerobic work. But rowing is all about [working] harder. Elite rowers fire off the start at sprint speed, 53 strokes per minute. With 95 pounds of force on the blade end, each stroke is a weightlifter’s power clean. Rowers cross their anaerobic threshold with that first stroke. Then there are 225 more to the finish line.” She is beyond excited to combine two passions and help our already talented rowers become stronger, more powerful and more flexible on the water.