OAR Coaches

Andrea Thies

Andrea Thies spearheaded the effort to establish Otsego Area Rowing, Inc. and has served as the head coach since 2017. The sport of rowing has been a lifelong pursuit for Andrea, culminating with competition at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Andrea first learned to row at Cornell University. Following her Olympic career, Andrea taught freshmen women to row at Princeton University and later attended Harvard University to become a mathematics teacher. Andrea is devoted to diversifying the sport of rowing and helping people of all ages discover their ability to move a shell through the water.

Laura Kilty

In 2016, Laura became an “empty nester” and treated herself to rowing lessons with Andrea. She promptly bought a tippy boat and then a more stable boat and has spent the summers trying to improve her sculling in all kinds of conditions on Lake Otsego. She just loves being on the lake at sunrise when the water is calm. The sport’s workout can be leisurely or intense but there is alway room for improvement and a challenge. She has done a few races and enjoyed the challenge. Laura looks forward to sharing her love of the sport with people new to rowing.

Whitney Macdonald

Whitney Macdonald enters her first season with the Otsego Area Rowing (“OAR”) Youth Program in 2022 as an assistant coach. Macdonald also serves as a senior director at Modern States Education Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to making college more affordable and accessible for everyone.

Having rowed sweep at West Side Rowing Club (“WSRC”) in Buffalo, NY, Macdonald finished in first place at the 2004 New York Scholastic Championship. Macdonald is a certified USRowing Level 2 coach. She holds certificates in boater safety, Red Cross Adult, Child and Baby First Aid CPR/AED and SafeSport.

Macdonald earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from St. John’s University, Queens campus. Macdonald also serves on the Board of Directors for The Angel Network of Cooperstown, a community based organization that supports families with demonstrated need in the Cooperstown Central School district.


Joe Novitski

Joe rowed for four years on his high school crew and one year in college. He returned to the water in single and double sculls – after his knees gave out following years of road running – and was certified as a Level 2 coach by USRowing in 2020. He coaches masters rowers at his home club on San Francisco Bay and novice and youth scullers on Lake Otsego with OAR. Joe has raced in Masters competitions since 2015, won a bronze medal in his age group at Masters Nationals in 2017, and has raced at the Head of the Charles five times.

Ed Ryan

  • Former Varsity Rower (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Certified US Rowing Level 2 Coach
  • Rowing Coach of Georgetown Day School Novices
  • U.S. National Champion (Vesper Boat Club)
  • Six-time Masters National Champion (1x, 2x and 4x)

Lang Keith

Lang rowed at Kent School and took up sculling about 35 years ago on the Potomac River.  He has competed in single, double and quadruple sculls at various rowing regattas occasionally taking home medals when the competition was feeling generous.  He enjoys training for Head races and coaching others to become competent scullers.  He retired in 2007 after 9 years in the Navy, 25 years as a Lawyer and 11 years as Virginia trial Judge. 

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