Originally published May 1, 2013
MADISON, WIS. — MSOE Rowing’s Michael Dorus will attend the elite USRowing Mendota Developmental Camp, June 20-Aug. 1, this summer in Madison, Wis.
Dorus (Jr./Des Plaines, Ill./SE) is the first rower in the six-year history of the MSOE Rowing program to qualify for such a camp, which serves to select and prepare teams for the national U23 Trials and the Elite Nationals, as well as to represent the nation at the prestigious Royal Canadian Henley Regetta. Qualification was contingent upon Dorus’ 2000-meter output time on a calibrated indoor rowing machine, or ergometer, being less than six minutes and 25 seconds, along with other physical factors.
USRowing is recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport in the United States. The non-profit organization selects, trains and manages the teams that represent the nation in international compeition, inlcuding the Olympic Games.
“If Mike wants to make the Olympics,” MSOE Rowing coach Chuck Stollenwerk said, “I believe he will. He is very smart, versatile and a tremendous with problem-solving and strategy. I think whatever Mike puts his mind to, he will accomplish.”
The camp continues a meteoric rise through the ranks for the indomitable Dorus, who began rowing at MSOE two years ago without any previous experience and has undergone a physical transformation to reach his current level.
Dorus first came to MSOE after serving in the United States Air Force from 2004-08. After marrying his then-fiancée, Melissa, in 2010, Dorus was an alternate for MSOE’s top novice and varsity openweight boats as a freshman and sophomore, years the program showed great depth. A turning point in Dorus’ career came last year, when he and former Raider Dave Taylor formed a two-man coxless team that was one of six to reach the Bob Negaard Cup Final out of 25 competitors at the Aberdeen “Dad” Vail Regatta on the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia.
It was during the summer of 2012, though, when Dorus took his biggest steps towards becoming an international-level competitor, dropping 30 pounds to become eligible to row for MSOE’s lightweight teams.
“He had to have put millions of meters on the rowing machine that summer,” Stollenwerk said. “He made healthy changes to his diet, too. Mike has an incredible work ethic.”
With Dorus’ oar on the port side, MSOE Rowing posted a number of signature victories this year. On Sept. 15, 2012, the Raiders’ eight-man boat defeated all four entries from Purdue and took second in the Milwaukee River Challenge with Dorus in the 2 seat. A month and a half later, the Raiders’ Lightweight 4+ team finished sixth out of 16 at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Mass., surviving a four-boat collision to improve its standing by two places from the year before. Sitting bow, Dorus helped MSOE defeat a number of boats from world-renowed rowing schools and clubs, including Harvard, Penn, Georgetown, Fordham, the United States Naval Academy and the Argonaut and Ottawa Rowing Clubs of Canada.
Acceptance into the camp comes as a result of Dorus’ hard work both on and off the water. “The University of Wisconsin is the dominant rowing program in this region,” Stollenwerk said, “and there aren’t many rowers from the Midwest who can even think of competing at that camp who aren’t Badgers. He had to reach out to [USRowing and Wisconsin coach] Beau Hoopman for the opportunity.”
The camp is being hosted by University of Wisconsin Rowing.
“For Mike to reach this level shows how fiercely competitive he is and how badly he wants to prove himself. To make the U.S. National Team in rowing, or any sport, is no picnic. Making the Olympics would be even harder. But Mike’s desire won’t be what gets in the way.”
Stollenwerk also expects the MSOE program to benefit from Dorus’ attendance. “As more guys see what Mike is doing and go to camps themselves, I can only see our teams getting faster.”