Boat Names

“Coach Roach”

The white Boys Vespoli 4+ is named in honor of coach Rob Roach. Rob Roach started his career at Lyme Old Lyme Highschool in 1975 as a social studies teacher. That Fall, Rob started a girls soccer program, which has gone on to win several state championships. Coach Roach, as he was fondly called, also coached varsity basketball until 1991, when he transitioned into the Athletic Director position.

As Athletic Director, Rob was always an ardent supporter of the Lyme Old Lyme High school crew. Rob was consistently eager to find ways to support the particular needs of the school rowing program, and was instrumental in growing the nascent program into one of the finest public school programs.

Among the honors Rob has earned, in 1971, he was named to the NCAA Division 2 All American Soccer team when he played for Saint Anselm College. His alma mater also elected him to the Saint Anselm Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1994, Rob was Regional School District 18 Teacher of the Year, and in 2009, he was elected to the Connecticut Girls Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame.


The Wherry ‘Smalley’ is named in honor of David Smalley. David quietly joined Blood Street Sculls around 2012, to maintain his fitness, while awaiting a lung transplant. David became a testament to the entire organization, of what courage looked like. David rolled this Wherry, along with his oars, and his oxygen tank, to the beach. Without asking for any help, he would beach launch, load up the oxygen tank and show us how to relish the beauty of a sunny day on Rogers Lake.

David Smalley was a sculptor and professor at Connecticut College from 1965 to 2002 and co-founded the Center for Arts and Technology. His work in stainless steel, bronze, aluminum and laminated wood among other media has been featured in more than fifty shows across the globe, including a mid-career retrospective at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London in 1997. He was an instructor to Lauren Plage, wife of OLRA member Bill Plage, and rowing supporter extraordinaire. Lauren has the distinction of setting Professor Smalley’s hair alight.  A lifetime resident of Eastern Connecticut, David graduated from New London High School and the University of Connecticut. He earned a master of fine arts degree from Indiana University.

David suffered from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and rowing was a way for David to enjoy the out of doors, right up until he succumbed in October of 2015.

David taught us that there is so much more to rowing than going fast, and we were proud to call him a friend.