Tanya Braet's interest in adapting rowing started with adaptive water skiing.
Braet was among the first student volunteers who helped MOT Professor Phyllis Wenthe '97 MEd, PhD, with Access to Waves, an adaptive water skiing clinic conducted annually by the Genesis Therapeutic Recreation Department and the Backwater Gamblers water skiing club.
"Just to see people with disabilities be able to get out of their chairs and into the water, I thought it was pretty amazing," Braet said of the seven-year-old program.
Scheduled this year for Aug. 18 on the Rock River, Access to Waves has grown through the annual volunteer participation of Wenthe, MOT Instructor Jon Turnquist '92, '10 MOL, and as many as 20 St. Ambrose MOT students.
Wenthe and the students help wheelchair-bound athletes transfer from their wheelchairs into chair-equipped skis. Turnquist helps construct those skis and ensures they fit properly, said Glen Sancken, himself a paraplegic and the Genesis director of therapeutic recreation.
"Phyllis and Jon are just so instrumental for our program," Sancken said. "I don't even know if it would exist without those two."