Success Beyond Sight: Matt’s Story


When learning to row, it’s typical for coaches to instruct their rowers to close their eyes. While this seems daunting at first, rowers can attest to how important this training tool is. By eliminating sight, athletes are able to focus on how the athletes move as one and feel the boat run beneath them. At Duxbury Bay Maritime School, we have taken this training style to an entirely new level.

At 13 years old, Matthew Sullivan has become DBMS’ first blind rower. Keeping with our mission to make the bay accessible to all, our Adult Rowing staff set him up to participate in some adaptive rowing. Growing up in Duxbury and having been a participant of the school’s renowned AccesSail sailing program, Matt has always loved being on Duxbury Bay.DSC_0160

With the help of two passionate coaches, Suzanne Sarles and Dan McDonald, rower Liz Lange, twin brother Kevin, and mom Anita, Matt learned how to take basic sculling strokes and successfully rowed as a member of a crew. As Dan sat in front of Matt to provide him with coaching, he realized how powerful this moment was for him.

“We cannot explain in words the gift Matt has brought to his coaches. Watching him take strokes and experience the joy only rowing can bring, was an incredible thing to witness. We are all a part of building something special, and we thank you [DBMS rowers] for pulling on our oars together.”DSC_0155

We were able to capture much of the joy that could not be put into words with some VIDEO footage that was taken of Matt rowing.

Thank you to Dan, Suzanne, Liz, Kevin, Anita, and Matt for bringing so much joy to the DBMS community. Matt, your success in all that you do is far beyond sight.

To view more videos of Matt rowing, please click below:

Matt’s Rowing Day 2

Matt’s Rowing Day 3

To learn more about some of the great Outreach Programs we have at DBMS, please click HERE.

To register for a fall rowing or sailing course (open for both adults and high school students), please click HERE.