Founded in 1968, Orlando Rowing Club Inc. (ORC) was originally known as the Florida Athletic Club (FAC). Dennis Kamrad helped build the original boathouse at the VFW property on Lake Fairview. The program officially launched in 1972. Early participants attended Winter Park HS, Edgewater HS, and Florida Tech (now UCF), with multiple levels and coaches. FAC members won medals at the Olympic Sports Festival, Canadian Henley Regatta, Miami International Regatta, multiple Head of the Charles medals, international races in Mexico and England as well as representation in the Olympic Trials.
FAC grew as more people became interested in competing in the sport of rowing after their college years. By 1987, club members decided to incorporate and did so as Orlando Rowing Club Inc. Over time, the organization accumulated a fair amount of equipment-boats, oars and other related equipment and outgrew the VFW property.
In 1994, ORC entered into an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Orlando and Orange County, Florida. Through this Agreement, those public entities funded the building of a boathouse on Lake Fairview which ORC now operates under a long-term Leasing Agreement with the City of Orlando.
Members of ORC and several other rowing organizations provided the “sweat equity” necessary to build the boathouse. The building was completed and dedicated in 1996. The three-bay boathouse was named after the late Charles Kenneth Corkery, a great friend to local rowing who was active in the sport as a competitor, coach and national referee of USRowing, the national governing body. Ken was a strong alumnus of Temple University, where he rowed as a student. Sadly, Ken passed away just before the boathouse was completed. Now, it is dedicated in his memory and to his passion for the sport.
In 1996, ORC began regularly sponsoring, promoting and running regattas for local high schools, colleges, master rowers, and open-age rowers. The organization also began regularly offering a Summer Rowing Program designed to teach novices of all ages the sport of rowing and to provide high school rowers a place to row in the summer time. As the number of high school rowing clubs grew in Florida and the sport matured, it became evident that the role ORC played as a regatta sponsor/organizer at the high school level no longer fit its mission. Many of the regattas were being organized and run by the high schools themselves. As a result, ORC discontinued this activity in 2001 and focused exclusively on regattas for masters-level (adult) competition.