3 St. Benedict Prep seniors make it to Olympic Development Program for rowing

Three seniors from St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark are taking the first step toward achieving their Olympic dreams.
For the past decade, the St. Benedict’s Prep rowing team has been providing the opportunity to make it to the Olympics. And for the first time in the program’s history, it is sending three students to the Olympic Development Program.
“I’m just very excited. Me and my other friends, we’ve been talking about it nonstop, how we’re going to prepare and what we’ll expect and we’re just excited,” says senior Yamill Harris.
They learned the sport as freshmen, and now rising seniors Alvaro Paulin, Jayden Dasher and Harris have all qualified for the program in Florida later this month.
“The only way I saw out was football and basketball,” Dasher says. “So I chose football and that was the only way I saw out. And now I’m doing rowing and I see myself on a way higher path, brighter path.”
During the four-week camp, the teens will work with regional, collegiate and national team coaches and compete with some of the best rowers in the country.
“Rowing is just a really cool sport to get people into college, definitely men and women. So it’s a good thing to have another good portal, I guess, into college for people like me who don’t have much access to it,” says Paulin.
St. Benedict’s alumnus Craig White started the rowing program in 2011 and says that the mission is to create an opportunity and bring more diversity to the sport.
“Whenever we go out to compete, there aren’t unfortunately right now, that many kids of color who are very active in the sport. But these kids are really setting the stage,” White says.
The teens say that they plan to make the most of their opportunities.
“Get a chance to put myself out there. Hopefully get an invite to the selection camp next year and the junior national team as a senior. It’s really exciting," Dasher says.
The Olympic Development Program begins next week in Florida.