Dehron Smith is looking to go to Varese, Italy, to represent The Bahamas at the World Rowing Under-23 (U23) Championships, which is set for July 25-30. Smith is currently raising funds to get an opportunity to row on a global stage. He will be rowing in the single sculls class – a highly competitive division in which rowers use a combination of power and skill.
“This competition is a huge opportunity for me to break on to the international scene in rowing and put The Bahamas in that conversation in the sport of rowing. It’s an absolute honor. The goal is to build experience and set a bar high for myself as I train moving forward. This will be my very first individual international race,” Smith said.
Smith said it’s been tough financially for him on this mission to travel to Italy. The tickets for his coach Andrea Proske, and himself, are $4,000 combined. They have a GoFundMe page set up where they are hoping to raise $4,500. The campaign is at $3,055 so far.
“My GoFundMe page is the best way for anyone to help me along in the journey in whatever amount they have to spare,” Smith said. “I was hesitant to reach out on this level but a mentor of mine made me realize that people deserve an opportunity to contribute because there are so many people in my life who care about me and all of us as Bahamians want to see each other succeed.”
Smith said it’s not strange to have fundraisers. He said it’s even done at the university level to cover costs such as equipment, travel, accommodations and the price of competitions.
The 22-year-old will be the second Bahamian male to compete in the World Rowing U23 Championships – the first was William Stanhope. Smith is coached by Canadian Olympic gold medalist Andrea Proske.
“He is a joy to guide. He takes ownership in his journey, asking thoughtful questions to ensure he understands the training plan, but also trusting the process. When faced with tough workouts – the type I used to dread as an athlete myself – he commits to digging deep. Most importantly, Smith understands his journey goes beyond the U23 World Championships.
“We are going to Italy with a clear goal – to leave it all on the water, execute our best race, and to seek our personal best. No matter what the end ranking, I know that Smith will leave proud of his work, with another exciting chapter in Bahamian rowing written.”
Smith first began rowing in 2019 when he was a freshman at Ithaca College at the age of 19. He rowed with the eights but has made the tough transition to the singles where it is just him alone in the boat. He trains on Lake Cunningham, and he said Proske is proud of his progression.
After this competition, Smith will return to Ithaca College for his senior year. He is looking to graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Athletic Training, specializing in sports medicine. Smith will also continue to compete with his school’s varsity crew as they look to dominate the Liberty League.
The GoFundMe page is https://gofund.me/5c874de5. The duo is set to leave on Saturday July 23.